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From Bioregenerative Life Support Systems for Space to Vertical Farming on Earth – The 100% Spin-off

Zeidler, Conrad and Schubert, Daniel (2014) From Bioregenerative Life Support Systems for Space to Vertical Farming on Earth – The 100% Spin-off. Life in Space for Life on Earth Symposium, 15.-20. Juni 2014, Waterloo, Canada.

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Abstract

In 2011, the Institute of Space Systems (Bremen) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) launched a research initiative called EDEN - Evolution & Design of Environmentally-closed Nutrition-Sources. The group focuses on bioregenerative life support systems, especially greenhouse modules and technologies for planetary habitats on Moon/Mars. One focal point is set on Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies and the transformation and integration of these technologies into space-proven hardware solutions. In addition to that, the EDEN-Team aims to apply its know-how of CEA technologies in space systems to provide valuable spin-off projects on Earth. For that purpose the first engineering study of a semi closed-loop Vertical Farm (VF) to assess its economic feasibility was done by the group through a Concurrent Engineering (CE) process. Vertical Farming is an advanced method of agriculture on Earth, where commercially viable crops are cultivated inside multi-story buildings that mimic several aspects of an ecological system. Vertical Farms are posited as a potential solution regarding the global food demand on Earth by allowing increased crop growth in areas, where traditional agriculture is not or only partially possible. Especially for so called mega-cities like Tokyo, New York or Beijing this concept is a matter of debate in the scientific community in the context of “Urban Agriculture”. Aside from that there are some additional benefits of a VF like year-round crop production (even during winter- & dry summer periods), faster production and higher crop yields due to CEA technologies or no weather related crop failures due to hail and heavy rain storms. Moreover a VF provides a close by consumer crop production. Thus there is no spoilage of crops during transportation (fresh food). The conceptualized Vertical Farm of DLR is a building with 37 floors, a square footprint of 44 by 44 meters and a total height of 168 meters (while 5 floors are beneath ground level). There are 25 plant cultivation floors in the building with multiple stacked plant growth layers on every floor. A total edible biomass output of around 13,3 tons/day (~4.900 tons/year) can be achieved with a total grow area of ca. 93.000 m2. Aside from plant cultivation, three fish farming floors are dedicated to the cultivation of Tilapia fish. A total of roughly 280 kg of Tilapia filet can be produced per day (~100 tons/year). Water is recycled using filtration and recovery systems. The bio waste resulting from the plant cultivation- and fish farming processes is used for power- & heat generation, as fish feed supplement and to generate new bio fertilizer. The authors present the technical design and economic analysis of the Vertical Farm based on their know-how of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies in space systems. Furthermore advantages and challenges of such a farm together with a comparison to traditional agriculture will be outlined. The VF is a perfect example of transforming know-how, generated in the space sector, into terrestrial applications.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/89590/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:From Bioregenerative Life Support Systems for Space to Vertical Farming on Earth – The 100% Spin-off
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Zeidler, Conradconrad.zeidler (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schubert, Danieldaniel.schubert (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:2014
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
In DOAJ:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Vertical Farming , Vertical Farm, Bioregenerative Life Support System, BLSS, Evolution & Design of Environmentally-closed Nutrition-Sources, EDEN, Controlled Environment Agriculture technologies, CEA, Urban Agriculture, Plant Cultivation, Crop Cultivation
Event Title:Life in Space for Life on Earth Symposium
Event Location:Waterloo, Canada
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:15.-20. Juni 2014
Organizer:The European Space Agency (ESA), the International Society for Gravitational Physiology (ISGP) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt :envihab
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Systemanalyse Raumsegmente
Deposited By: Zeidler, Conrad
Deposited On:08 Jul 2014 10:14
Last Modified:08 Jul 2014 10:14

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