Form 9.B Project Summary
Proposal Number: 10.04-3554E
Project Title: A High Performance, Gravity Insensitive, Enclosed Aeroponic System for Food Production in Space
Technical Abstract (Limit 200 words)
EnviroGen, Inc., an industry leader in aeroponic technology and rapid plant propagation techniques, has teamed with BioServe Space Technologies, a Commercial Space Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, to develop an enclosed aeroponic nutrient delivery system, insensitive to gravity, for use in spaceflight food crop production and gravitational biology research. Other non-aeroponic enclosed plant growth technologies for use in low gravity have been and currently are being developed. However, aeroponic plant propagation dramatically increases biomass production rates at higher plant densities while reducing nutrient solution mass, plant-to-plant disease transmission, and time spent planting and harvesting, critical when weight and space are at a premium on long-term space flights. Additional advantages of the proposed aeroponic system include efficient water/micronutrient delivery (using controlled misting interval and duration), environmental parameter adjustment based on plant growth/health, and plant physiological monitoring. The team has identified innovative approaches, integrating forced convection, capillary flow, and porous plate water recovery techniques, to deal with low-gravity two-phase flow resulting from aeroponic misting. The development, testing, and qualification of such a system will serve to broaden aeroponics' commercial use in terrestrial crop production, pharmaceutical research and production, and plant biology research.
Potential Commercial Applications (Limit 200 words)
Terrestrial markets would be food crop production companies as well as pharmaceutical companies that require technology to rapidly regenerate plant material for metabolic extraction of pharmaceutical products. Other flora that could be grown include a wide variety of trees, shrubs and ornamental horticultural crops. A tremendous amount of research and development to be carried for optimizing the specific environmental parameters for a given plant species in enclosed environments. Aeroponic environmental parameters can be modified and adjusted to greatly influence growth for a specific crop; this data model can be stored in the aeroponic system's computer. Once this data model is obtained it can be used to optimize conditions to achieve even higher yields and/or increase biomass. Given the hundreds of plant species that can be grown in an aeroponic system data modeling would be valuable for reproducibly maximizing yields and crop turn-around times. Utilizing an enclosed aeroponic system as method and apparatus in conjunction with vegetative propagation could reduce the reliance on seeds as well as eliminate the need for extensive tissue culture procedures and hardware. This would be an invaluable tool for low gravity and terrestrial crop expansion. The market optional for this technology is vast.
Name and Address of Principal Investigator (Name,
Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Berthoud , CO 80513
Name and Address of Offeror (Firm Name, Mail Address,
333 Springhill Lane
Berthoud , CO 80513