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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Solar Plant Growth System for Food Production in Space Exploration Missions, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), in collaboration with Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc. (Vencore) and Utah State University (USU), proposes to develop a Solar Plant Growth System for Food Production in Space Exploration Missions. In the proposed system solar light is collected by the reflector optics and only the photosynthetically active radiation spectra (PAR: 400 nm < λ < 700 nm) are transmitted to the plant growth chamber. The PAR spectra transmitted to the plant growth chamber are distributed over the plant growth area at optimum intensities for plant growth. The non-plant growing spectra (non-PAR) are not reflected by the dichroic PAR reflector and transmitted to energy conversion devices such as low-bandgap photovoltaic (PV) cells for electric power generation. The electric power generated can be used for supplemental lighting and/or facility operation. In the proposed program we will develop a ground-based prototype plant growth system by integrating (i) the solar plant lighting technology developed by Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) with (ii) state of the art plant growth technologies for food production in space. In Phase I, a laboratory prototype plant growth system consisting of: solar concentrator; optical fiber cable; lighting panel; plant growth chamber; and plant watering module will be developed, and functionality tests and performance evaluation will be conducted. Based on the results of Phase I an engineering prototype solar plant growth system will be developed and tested in a ground based facility. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Target Destination

Light bulb

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