Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Projects and Results
  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EDEN ISS (Ground Demonstration of Plant Cultivation Technologies and Operation in Space for Safe Food Production on-board ISS and Future Human Space Exploration Vehicles and Planetary Outposts)

EDEN ISS Report Summary

Project ID: 636501
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EDEN ISS (Ground Demonstration of Plant Cultivation Technologies and Operation in Space for Safe Food Production on-board ISS and Future Human Space Exploration Vehicles and Planetary Outposts)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-02-29

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

A critical component of future human exploration to other worlds will be the sustainable supply of edible food for crew members without constant resupply from Earth. Developing innovations regarding food cultivation in closed-loop systems are becoming an essential integral part to enabling future space missions.
The goal of the EU-funded EDEN ISS project is to advance controlled environment agriculture technologies beyond the state-of-the-art. It focuses on ground demonstration of plant cultivation technologies and their application in space. EDEN ISS develops nutritious and safe food production for use on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and for future crewed space vehicles and planetary outposts. EDEN ISS will develop an advanced nutrient delivery system, a high performance LED lighting system, a bio-detection and decontamination system and food quality and safety procedures and technologies.
A mobile container-sized greenhouse test facility will be built to demonstrate and validate different key technologies and procedures necessary for safe and nutritious food production within a (semi-) closed system. The plant cultivation technologies will first be tested in a laboratory setting at the sites of the consortium partners. Subsequently, systems will be shipped to DLR in Bremen where they will be integrated and undergo an extensive test campaign.
In October 2017, the complete facility will be shipped to the German Neumayer III Antarctic station. The station is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute and has unique capabilities and infrastructure for testing plant cultivation under extreme environment and logistical conditions. It is foreseen that the container-sized greenhouse of the EDEN ISS project will provide year-round fresh food supplementation for the Neumayer Station III crew.
The EDEN ISS consortium will design and test essential controlled environment agriculture technologies using an International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR) cultivation system for potential testing on-board the ISS. A Future Exploration Greenhouse (FEG) will also be developed and focuses on testing technologies and operations associated with future planetary bio-regenerative life support systems (BLSS). The technologies will be tested both, in a laboratory environment and at the highly-isolated Neumayer Station III. The mobile container-sized test facility will be built in order to provide realistic mass flow relationships for the ISPR section and FEG. In addition to technology development and validation, food quality & safety and plant handling procedures will be developed. These are integral aspects of the interaction between the crew and plants within closed environments. In this sense, the ISS can be seen as a test-bed for long-duration space missions and future planetary outposts.

The EDEN ISS consortium is comprised of leading European experts in the domain of human spaceflight and controlled environment agriculture. The consortium also includes top international scientists in the field from Canada (and furthermore participants from Russia, USA and Japan as members of the Scientific Advisory Board). The project reflects a multidisciplinary group of experts representing aerospace engineering, agriculture, horticulture, plant physiology, microbiology, polar and marine research, food science, medicine, and psychology.

Due to the necessity of validating key technologies for space greenhouses under mission relevant conditions and with representative mass flows, the EDEN ISS consortium has defined six objectives:

1. Manufacturing a space analogue mobile test facility
2. Integration and test of an International Standard Payload Rack plant cultivation system for future tests on-board ISS and a Future Exploration Greenhouse for planetary habitats
3. Adaptation, integration, fine-tuning and demonstration of key technologies
4. Development and demonstration of operational techniques and processes for higher plant cultivation to achieve safe and high-quality food
5. Study of microbial behaviour and countermeasures within plant cultivation chambers
6. Actively advancing knowledge related to human spaceflight and transformation of research results into terrestrial applications

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Main achievements for the first period can be seen in the following topics:

- System Analysis & Requirements Definition
The first step in each complex project is to conduct a detailed system analysis. This was done during the first months of the project, covering environmental parameters at Antarctica, existing infrastructure at Neumayer Station III, and top level requirements for plants. As a preparatory step for the preliminary design workshop, a set of system requirements for the Mobile Test Facility, ISPR, and the adjoining entities (e.g. mission control center) were established.

- Plant Selection
In order to choose the most suitable plants, a detailed analysis on plant selection was performed. Here, a methodology of plant selection for cultivating purposes at the Neumayer III Antarctic station and on-board the ISS was developed. Among others, the developed methodology took (human) quality, physical and plant aspects into account.

- Overall Mission Planning
The overall mission plan was drafted, including a detailed Assembly, Integration & Test plan. Sample return strategies were elaborated and coordinated with the different consortium partners. Water consumption, edible- and inedible biomass calculations were performed as well as operational aspects defined. A detailed draft of the application to the German Environmental Agency (UBA) for Antarctic access and environmental compliance was also generated.

- System Design Workshop
A design workshop was performed with all partners from September 7 to September 18, 2015 in the Concurrent Engineering Facility of DLR’s Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, Germany. The purpose of the workshop was the generation of a preliminary design for the Mobile Test Facility. During the workshop, the consortium members worked on their respective subsystems and on the issue how to integrate their systems in the overall greenhouse. The design of the subsystems could be improved considerably. System budgets (e.g. mass, power) were calculated, CAD drawings were made and estimates with respect to inputs and outputs conducted. A very important step was the consolidation of the system and subsystem requirements.

- Detailed Design and Cost Analysis
During the final part of this period, all partners worked on the detailed design of their system or experimental set-ups. The first test stands were built-up within partner laboratories in order to test the different functional principles of their respective subsystem. Furthermore, a detailed cost analysis was performed in order to keep the overall project within its budget line.

- Outreach
Within the first period of this project, a website was established. The website functions as a nucleus for the consortium and for outreach activities and communication. The website gives a general overview of the project and contains a news section, a blog and galleries with project images. Furthermore, a Facebook page and a YouTube channel have been established and supplied with several posts to reach a broader audience. In addition to the web site, a press release and project flyer were created and circulated.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The EDEN ISS project aims to provide several benefits over the current state-of-the-art while advancing European technological competency by:

• advancing the Technology Readiness Level to 6 of key technologies for plant cultivation to be deployed in future BLSS
• developing an ISPR cultivation system in preparation for future deployment on-board the ISS,
• manufacturing an in-situ plant production system to provide year-round fresh food supplementation for Neumayer Station III Antarctic crews
• enhancing yield per production area while minimizing energy and resource requirements
• utilizing the Mobile Test Facility and its integrated subsystems to analyse the overall biomass production, resource use and crew time in a highly integrated plant production module
• Leveraging the idea-to-market capacities by facilitating the interaction between space actors with non-space actors as well as SMEs in order to strengthen European competitiveness in this field
• strengthening European research efforts within the BLSS domain while remaining complementary to present research initiatives
• terrestrial markets and applications will benefit from EDEN ISS: full control of growth environment (increased resource efficiency), food quality and safety control technologies and procedures, molecular farming and especially the present megatrend urban agriculture (e.g. vertical farming).

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top