NASA SBIR 2019-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 19-1- H3.02-2796
 Spacecraft Solid Waste Management
 Ultra-Efficient Ultrasonic Drying for Spacecraft Solid Waste
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ultrasonic Technology Solutions
12649 Bayview Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922- 0000
(352) 870-3714

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Ben Colgrove
12649 bayview dr KNOXVILLE, TN 37922 - 0000
(865) 567-2881

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Dr. Ayyoub M. Momen
12649 bayview dr KNOXVILLE, TN 37922 - 0000
(352) 870-3714
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Ultrasonic Technology Solutions (UltraTech) aims to extend the application of a unique and ground-breaking drying technology to human waste management processes in the International Space Station (ISS). Human metabolic solid waste (feces) contains 75% water by mass which is currently not recovered on the ISS and is instead transported back to earth. Return transportation of this waste results in significant cost and unneeded payload utilization. Water recovery and stabilization of solid waste is a critical technology gap for long duration human planetary exploration and future missions to the moon and Mars.  In this Phase I SBIR program, our team will complete a feasibility study to remove water from feces with a direct contact ultrasonic drying method that utilizes no heat. Our proposed technology can recover more than 80% of the water from human solid waste. Removing water through the use of ultrasonic drying can potentially reduce the operational cost of space travel and improve crew hygiene and comfort. Excess water in feces adds up to approximately 680 kgs (1,496 lbs.) of unnecessary waste for a 1,000-day mission by a crew of four.  


The direct contact ultrasonic drying technology was invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The ORNL team demonstrated five times higher drying energy efficiency for clothing (1/5th of the energy input) and two times faster drying rates compared to state-of-the-art residential clothes dryers. The technology also showed strong promise for removing water from liquids and semi-liquid materials, and therefore the application to NASA for feces drying is a strong potential application.  This feces drying application, however needs to be tested through a feasibility study. 

In September 2018, the lead inventor, Dr. Ayyoub Momen, along with a team of seasoned professionals, launched UltraTech and exclusively licensed the direct contact ultrasonic drying technology from ORNL for commercial and industrial fields of use.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Ultra-efficient direct contact drying (using no heat) can be extremely valuable to minimize human solid waste during long-duration space flight and sustained lunar surface operations.  The technology can significantly improve resource sustainability, water recycling, and crew health and hygiene related to metabolic waste (feces).  In support of the Moon to Mars campaign, direct contact ultrasonic drying has the potential to be a valuable technology for unique material drying needs ultimately aiding long-duration human space flight. 

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

In addition to government applications, Ultrasonic Technology Solutions intends to further develop the technology for industrial and commercial use in a variety of manufacturing applications, for example, paper and pulp drying, biomass drying, chemical powder drying, pharmaceutical processing, and fabric drying.

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/16/2019 23:33:09