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Blomqvist, Tor, 2022. Possible nutritional output of rapid-deployable CEA greenhouses for emergency scenarios. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences



Space research is a catalyst for innovation and has for decades provided many tools for the
improvement of life on earth. The development of space food and the demand of new methods for
on-site food production for long-term space missions may, in fact, help solve the issues regarding
food insecurity on earth. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has since 2011 undertaken the task
to develop the method for on-site food production, with the development of EDEN ISS, a Controlled
Environmental Agriculture (CEA) greenhouse module for space applications.
Space greenhouse systems have stringent requirements since optimal growing conditions need to be
achieved with very limited resources and with no room for failure. Whereas many areas on earth
face similar problems, plant cultivation methods for space may also translate into terrestrial
applications where food production is otherwise difficult. For instance, space greenhouse systems
may provide ideal solutions for humanitarian assistance scenarios that are in urgent need of new and
innovative solutions to combat food insecurity. As a result, DLR and WFP have started a spin-off
collaboration of EDEN ISS called MEPA. MEPA is a mobile CEA greenhouse that combines the
hydroponic methods of nutrient film technique and aeroponics in a flexible seed cultivation mat, to
make an easily transported food production system for humanitarian food aid scenarios.
This study primarily examines the CEA cultivation methods and their applicability in space and on
earth, followed by a description of the MEPA system and its potential as a tool in humanitarian aid
scenarios. In addition, the study investigates the potential of MEPA as an easy-to-use CEA
micronutrient production system.
The study of the MEPA system was conducted in several steps. First a growth test and an
experimental set up of MEPA was performed by constructing and testing the seed cultivation mat.
The study indicated that the seed cultivation mat has no issues growing beans, lettuce, and purslane.
The growth system was almost autonomous and needed almost no supervision. Second, the
nutritional yield and the potential nutrition adequacy of MEPA was estimated by comparing
different indicators of nutritional quality. The calculations estimated that depending on crop choice,
a 20ft container of MEPA units have the potential to feed up to 100 people with a micronutrient
content adequate for up to 350 people. Subsequently, the calculations led to a proposal of new
metrics that measures the nutritional quality of the potential output, which may fill a gap in current
crop choice methods.

Main title:Possible nutritional output of rapid-deployable CEA greenhouses for emergency scenarios
Authors:Blomqvist, Tor
Supervisor:Sampels, Sabine and Dorn, Markus
Examiner:Basu, Santanu
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2022:42
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY010 Agronomprogrammet - livsmedel, för antagna fr.o.m. 2016 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:Space technology, Humanitarian, hydroponics, Controlled Environmental Agriculture, nutritional yield, nutritional indicator, aeroponics, nutrient film technique, space food, BLSS
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Food science and technology
Deposited On:10 Aug 2022 07:26
Metadata Last Modified:11 Aug 2022 01:05

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