Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Electrodialysis Metathesis System for Water Recovery on ISS

By SpaceRef Editor
November 15, 2011
Filed under , , ,

Synopsis – Nov 15, 2011

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: NNA12EDM002L
Posted Date: Nov 15, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 15, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Nov 23, 2011
Current Response Date: Nov 23, 2011
Classification Code: 66 — Instruments and laboratory equipment
NAICS Code: 334516 – Analytical Laboratory Instrument Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Ames Research Center, JA:M/S 241-1, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001



This RFI is a market survey for information to be used for planning purposes only. The purpose of this RFI is to obtain information from industry on potential systems, processes, and products that will achieve calcium compound removal from concentrated urine to below solubility limit to prevent scale formation.

NASA intends to lease or procure a Electrodialysis Metathesis System for water recovery system on board the International Space Station (ISS).

One of the objectives of this work plan is to evaluate the electro dialysis metathesis (EDM) process for the removal of calcium scale precursors from urine. Operation of the International Space Station (ISS) urine processor assembly (UPA) has demonstrated that calcium scale can be a limiting factor to achieving high water recovery ratios. The urine generated on ISS has a high potential for calcium scale formation due to microgravity initiated bone loss from astronauts and the use of sulfuric acid as a pretreatment. As a result, the ISS UPA has operated at reduced water recovery ratio in order to prevent the precipitation of calcium scale. Examples of scale forming calcium salts: calcium sulfate and calcium carbonate. The need to resupply water to ISS can be addressed by mitigating this calcium scale problem and increasing the water recovery ratio of the UPA. This can be accomplished by removing the calcium and its ionic conjugates from solution. The EDM process may be developed as a method to remove calcium from solution and prevent its precipitation as calcium scale. The development of this technology also allows for the development of a new generation of spacecraft wastewater treatment systems which are designed specifically to deal with precipitated scale forming solids.

This preliminary information is being made available for planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3, entitled “Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes.” It does not constitute a Request for Proposal, and it is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contract, nor will the Government pay for the information submitted in response to this request. This procurement is subject to review or cancellation at any time.

The NAICS code planned for this procurement is 334516; the small business size standard is 500 employees. The schedule, method of solicitation, type of contract, set aside potential, selection criteria, pricing structure, and other considerations to be used will depend on the NASA’s analysis of the responses received from this RFI.

NASA is presently familiar with the capabilities of Veolia Water Solutions EDM with capability for zero discharge desalination (ZDD), and seeks this or equivalent equipment to fulfill this need.

We request industry experts to provide any information, solutions, or product offering that will meet NASA’s requirements.

System Characteristics: The system may incorporate an electro dialysis cell consisting of multiple compartments. The following is an example of possible system configurations that NASA seeks.

The electrodialysis-metathesis cell module may have a capacity of individually-placed ion exchange membranes: 3 cation exchange membranes and 2 anion exchange membranes. The cell module should have 2 electrodes: anode and cathode. The 2 cation exchange membranes should be placed in a vicinity of electrodes. The assembly should allow easy membrane replacement with a possibility of replacement of electrodes to test various membranes and electrodes. The room between membranes should have optimized spacers, also with a possibility of easy spacer replacement. The stack assembly should have seals that provide positive sealing. Each membrane compartment shall have inlet and outlet ports for processed liquids: two compartments for rinsing of electrodes, one compartment for feed stream, one compartment for replacement ions solution (for example, NaCl), two compartments for processed liquids consisting exchanged ions. The total number of compartments in this example: 6. The compartments will consist spacers that facilitate liquid flow and separate ion exchange membranes.

The proposed configuration may be a square or rectangular stack, tubular or other compact geometry.

The materials selection: the materials should be compatible with the product of highly concentrated salt solutions and acidic (pH2) conditions. The product stream is highly concentrated urine at about 80% of water removal level. Other streams would have parameters as used in metathesis.

The active cross section areas of electrodes and ion exchange membranes should provide system capacity of approximately 5 L per hour.

The anion and cation exchange membrane life span should be approximately the same under operational conditions.


The example of scale-forming calcium compound is calcium sulfate. Its concentration needs to be maintained at a level below the precipitation threshold (the solubility is very low, at about 2.6 g/L at ambient temperature and decreases at elevated temperatures). Complete removal of CaSO4 may not be necessary. No water splitting (gas release) should occur. No excessive temperatures are allowed (operation at ambient temperature; need for external cooling shall be avoided). Optimized (minimal) power use is desirable. System should be able to handle particles in the processed liquids (design of compartments, spacers and ports).

We are looking for all pertinent information including rough order of magnitude for pricing, product lead time for delivery, and any information believed to be helpful in our market research and in determining industry capabilities. Desired lead time for delivery is 60 days after award of any contract or order.

Responses to this RFI must include the minimum following information: Company name, address, contractual and technical points of contact, phone number, e-mail, and website (if applicable), number of years in business, and name of parent company if applicable. Also required is information about the vendor’s business size (i.e., large, small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran owned, etc.) , whether the firm is under a GSA Schedule Contract for this product, and which industries does the vendor identify itself with in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Detailed requirements for the acquisition have not been finalized, nor have the specifics for the acquisition strategy been determined. NASA intends to use the results of its market research to aid in the making of these final decisions. The objectives of this RFI are: to provide industry with preliminary information regarding this potential acquisition, solicit information about potential sources and ROM pricing estimates, to identify the capabilities of small business and other business classifications to perform the work, and to invite potential offerors to submit comments regarding the fulfillment of this requirement.

Responses to this RFI are due by 4:30 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. Interested firms are requested to submit their capability statements, suggestions, schedule/ price “ROM” estimates, as well as any comments on the acquisition approach (email only) to: Elizabeth A. Baierl, Email: Responses are limited to twenty (20) pages in length, not including cover letter, cover page, and table of contents. Submissions shall be compatible with and accessible using Microsoft Office software applications.

Following this initial feedback, NASA may conduct one-on-one meetings with potential contractors. These meetings will allow for exchange of information and will provide an opportunity for potential offerors to provide feedback on the Government’s requirements and its acquisition approach.

It is the responsibility of potential offerors to monitor the Internet site for the release of any future information about this acquisition. Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of any future documents. Information will be posted on a World-Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application.

The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/ARC Business Opportunities page is

Any referenced numbered notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below. An ombudsman has been appointed — See NASA Specific Note “B”. Information about major upcoming ARC procurement actions is available at

Point of Contact

Name: Elizabeth A Baierl
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 650-604-5082
Fax: 650-604-0932

Name: Marianne Shelley
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 650-604-4179
Fax: 650-604-3020

SpaceRef staff editor.