Research Projects

AtSSE

Atmospheric Sub-system Engineering

Sector

Space

Product/Objective

The objective was to design, study and characterize the atmospheric sub-system of a Plant Control Unit and its processes related to crop growth. The atmosphere of the plant-related environment had to be homogeneous and meet the plants’ requirements.

Project Summary

The atmospheric system has the goal to accommodate the plant shoots during the culture till the harvesting, in a closed controlled and automated environment. The requirements established by plant scientists of the University of Blaise Pascal determined the optimal conditions for light, evapotranspiration of leaves, temperature and relative humidity for crops such as potatoes, soybeans and durum wheat.

Innovation

The AtSSE concept innovation includes:

1. Multiple system:

  • Multiple locations (geo-return constraint)
  • Multi-crop culture managed at the same time in different modules
  • Versatility for research tests
  • Test repeatability

2. Limited size of the system

  • Reduced gradients of the chamber
  • Shorter dynamics in recovering after perturbation, it allows to control homogeneous conditions easily
  • Transportable/ easy to rebuilt
  • The basic unit can be retrofitted/upgraded. If plants contamination and/or disease occurs, the yield losses are limted to only one unit (0,5 m2 of growth area)

ES Role

EnginSoft has previously participated as a partner in other ESA life support system projects. The company’s engineering background has resulted in a higher level of involvement in ongoing projects where it now plays a coordinating role with direct design involvement with ESTEC (European Space Technological Center) scientists. In this specific project EnginSoft worked on the full control of the air management and flexible air management (distribution system) in order to create an optimal growth environment with T, RH and contaminant control.

Partners

ENGINSOFT SPA, NTNU - NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY, POLYTECHNIQUE MONTRÉAL, SHERPA ENGINEERING, ULB - UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES, UGENT - UNIVERSITEIT GENT, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

Funding Scheme

Funding Scheme ESA | Call identifier Programme MELiSSA - Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative

AtSSE

Project web site

Visit the website

Duration

24 months

Period

2016 - 2017

Coordinator

EnginSoft SpA

Reference in EnginSoft

Lorenzo Bucchieri

Partners Number

7

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