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Home Discovery One giant leap for UV disinfection: how UV-C LEDs are treating astronauts’ drinking water

One giant leap for UV disinfection: how UV-C LEDs are treating astronauts’ drinking water

Water for future manned space missions

AquiSense Technologies is part of a seven-company consortium that has made significant progress on developing a potable water handling system for the use in future manned space missions.

The Kentucky-based organisation has participated in the Biocontamination Integrated Control for Wet Systems for Space Exploration (BIOWYSE) project, a three-year European Union funded program that aims to address biocontamination issues on the International Space Station (ISS).

This project is funded by the European Commission under the €80 billion Horizon 2020 program and is valued at €3 million.

The project incorporates an advanced UV-C LED water disinfection system engineered by AquiSense Technologies.

A new generation of UV technologies

The intent of the project is to develop an integrated chemical-free system to control and monitor biomass growth in potable water systems aboard the ISS. Two years into the project, the consortium has developed the main components of the system, which includes a number of advanced technologies.

AquiSense’s patent-protected UV-C LED Decontamination Module inactivates bacteria utilizing ultraviolet light. The next stage of the project is to begin integration testing in March 2018, followed by laboratory and field testing through to the end of the year.

Jennifer Pagan PhD, CTO of AquiSense Technologies, said: “It is literally an engineer’s dream to be able to apply their work to something as technically advanced as the space station. I am thrilled that our water disinfection technology will be used to help keep the astronauts safe.”

Using the world’s first UV-C LED system

The CTO said this represents a significant milestone in the history of UV disinfection.

She added: “Historically, UV systems would not have been considered for space applications due to the fragility and reliability of conventional UV systems that utilize lamps containing mercury. The development of UV-C LED based systems has spurred the development of an entirely new generation of UV technologies that are better suited for space exploration and other challenging environments.”

The UV-C LED disinfection system utilized for the BIOWYSE project is based on the core platform used in AquiSense’s PearlAqua™ product, which is the world’s first UV-C LED disinfection system and is backed by several patents, awards, and certifications. Applications being used today include those in industrial, commercial, medical, and residential markets.

To learn more about the PearlAqua or the scope of the BIOWYSE Project contact us at