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Yudi Chen, Carnegie Mellon University

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1 Yudi Chen, Carnegie Mellon University
Catherine Groschner, Carnegie Mellon University Brent Heard, Carnegie Mellon University Avisha Shah, University of Pennsylvania Matthew Vernacchia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2 Linear Nutrient Flow Food Storage Crew Waste Storage O2 CO2
This Habitat is based on a linear nutrient flow, in which food and oxygen resources are stored until needed, used once, and then disposed of. This design presents high mass requirements and the need to develop foodstuffs which will not spoil over 3 years. But what if we could convert the nutrients in the waste stream back into useful foods? Food and Waste storage requirements, and therefore habitat mass, would be greatly reduced. Waste Storage

3 Cyclic Nutrient Flow We aim to develop a technology which turns space nutrition into a close-loop cycle, where wastes are composted into fertilizers, which are in turn used to grow new food during the mission. In addition to reducing storage requirements, fresh food will avoid nutrient degredation issues encountered in the long term storage of foodstuffs.

4 Current Solutions Sequential Batch Anaerobic Composting (SEBAC)
Anaerobic system→ CH4, not food Research Space Bioconverter (RSB) Mainly for food waste NASA JSC’s BIO-Plex Food storage and growth research ESA’s Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELISSA)

5 Critical Tasks Food Crop Selection Composting Process Selection
Proof-of-Concept Rate Balancing Microgravity Gas Exchange Automation Verification

6 Food Crop - Production Algae advantages over macroscopic plants
Whole biomass edible No waste from stems, etc less harvesting machinery Grow in Liquid Media Simpler growth chamber: bioreactor tank vs. complex hydroponic farm Easier process automation

7 Food Crop - Nutrition Of algae evaluated, Spirulina Platensis shows best nutritional properties Spirulina has soy-like nutritional properties Spirulina is a staple crop for several tribes around Lake Chad, and was for the Aztecs (Ciferri 1983) Carb : protein balance alterable via changes in growing conditions (Tadros 1988) UN FAO meta-study: Rich in protein, vitamins (Becker 1994) and iron (Henrikson 1989) Immune system resilience to radiation (Academy of Chinese Military Medical Sciences)

8 Food Crop - Preparation
Fresh foods + packaged garnishes/ flavorings Allow astronauts to process the Spirulina into a variety of food products Tofu Soy-like milk Flour for tortillas, noodles and bread

9 Composting Process Spirulina can grow in aerated swine waste (Canizares and Dominquez 1993) Process: Liquefaction Aerobic stabilization Thermophilic stage (60C) reduces pathogens Sterilization by UV irradiation Lower complexity than MELISSA’s anaerobic and nitrogen fixation process. Carbon:nitrogen ratio = most important parameter

10 Proof of Concept Procedure
Feces, urine, food waste and paper, in ratio matching NASA effluents report Mechanical liquefaction Aeration in 1L bioreactors (35 days) UV irradiation + 10 min at 100C Dilution Used as Spirulina growth media in 1L bioreactors Compare composting performance at C:N ratios and concentrations Gather metabolic rate data

11 Proof of Concept 10:1 dilution 25:1 dilution 50:1 dilution

12 Rate Balancing O2 produced by algae = O2 consumed by compost + O2 consumed by crew CO2 consumed by algae = CO2 produced by compost + CO2 produced by crew Compost mass = (waste produced/time)*(retention time) Algae mass =(food needed/time) / (growth rate)

13 Rate Balancing

14 Rate Balancing

15 Rate Balancing Assuming ~290 kg compost slurry
Algae produces 15 g O2 /day/kg algae media Compost consumes 15 g O2 / kg compost slurry /day 3 week waste composting 6 person crew 75% of diet is grown ~290 kg compost slurry >530 kg algae media to provide food ~620 kg algae media to balance O2

16 Microgravity Gas Exchange
Need to move gases into and out of liquid media Normally done by sparing – this will not work in microgravity

17 Membrane Gas Exchange (MGE)

18 Centrifugal Gas Exchange (CGE)

19 CGE/MGE Bioreactor 10L capacity
Electrical connections for sensors, heating and lighting on rotor Rotating growth chamber, up to 500rpm for CGE

20 Under Development Under Development

21 Future Work

22 Microgravity CGE/MGE Pursue experiments on parabolic flight aircraft
NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program

23 Biological tests in CGE/MGE Bioreactor
Investigate: Algae and compost metabolisms with new gas exchange system Impact of biomass on gas exchange effectiveness

24 Closed system Components: Confirm rate balances
Compost bioreactor (x1) Algae bioreactors (x2) Crew simulant (i.e. mice) Confirm rate balances Investigate automation methods

25 Automation

26 Waste Input

27 Composting

28 Algae growth

29 Material Transfer

30 Alternative Product Applications
Remote Locations Oil Rigs / Submarines Third World Yudi

31 Extensive Ground Proving

32 Acknowledgements This research was funded by a Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Award I would like to thank the Conrad Spirit of Innovation awards for providing the initial seed funding to get this research started

33 References Alazraki, Micheal, John Fisher, Jitendra Joshi, and Charles Verostko.“Solids Waste Processing and Resource Recovery for Long-Duration Missions – A Workshop.”NASA and Society of Automotive Engineers, 2001. Belkin, Shimshon, Sammy Boussiba. “Resistance of Spirulinaplatensis to Ammonia at High pH Values.”Plant and Cell Physiology 32.7 (1991): Oxford Journals.Web. 23 Mar < Chiou, Shiow-Her, Chao-Min Wang, Ching-Lin Shyu, Shu-Peng Ho. “Species Diversity and Substrate Utilization Patterns of Thermophilic Bacterial Communities in Hot Aerobic Poultry and Cattle Manure Composts.” Microbial Ecology (2007): 1-9. JSTOR.Web. 23 Mar < >. Durbin, Drew. “Batch Composting of Human Excrement With Urban Waste Products.” Center for Environmental Studies. Brown University, May Web. 23 Mar < /DrewDurbinThesis.pdf>. Ergas, Sarina J., Amit Kumar, Ashish K. Sahu, Xin Yuan. “Impact of Ammonia Concentration on Spirulinaplatensis Growth in an Airlift Photobioreactor.”Bioresource Technology (2011): ScienceDirect.Web. 23 Mar < 7&_user=10&_coverDate=02%2F28%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_d ocanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId= &_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C &_version=1&_urlVersion =0&_userid=10&md5=431feb3afd22d15cb9a58fb44cf03161&searchtype=a>. Feng, Dao-Iun, Zu-cheng Wu. “Culture of Spirulinaplatensisin Human Urine For Biomass Production and O2 Evolution.” Journal of Zhejiang University Science 7.1 (2006): PubMed Central.Web. 23 Mar < />. Haug, Roger T. “Engineering Principles of Sludge Composting.” Journal (Water Pollution Control Federation) 51.8 (1979): JSTOR.Web. 23 Mar < >. Hirrel, Suzanne Smith, Tom Riley. “Understanding the Composting Process.” Uaex.University of Arkansas, n.d. Web. 23 Mar <>. “The Science and Engineering of Composting.”Cornell Composting.Cornell University, 1996.Web. 21 Dec <

34 Questions? ?

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