Today was a little unusual. Unexpectedly, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the office. Instead, I got to go on a field trip! I was lucky enough to spend about 4 hours with the team developing this: Impact BioEnergy’s Horse (http://impactbioenergy.com/horse-ad25/ ).
It’s a pretty amazing machine. You feed it household food waste, grass clippings and leaves, and it turns that into useful products: electricity, gas, and nutrients for farming. It’s not quite as cool as Mr Fusion from “Back to the Future 2”, but is pretty dang cool!
I hope it’s obvious why I’m interested in this stuff… closed-loop ecosystems are vital for space. Ya, I know that is decades away for an application like this. But still, it’s a step closer. Everyone knows that astronauts drink their own recycled urine. (It’s at least as pure as the water that comes out of a typical urban water utility, and your own kitchen sink – and in some cases, its maybe a lot better!)
But if we’re really going to space, to stay, as a species… if we’re really going to Mars, or to develop free-floating space stations (like our proposed PicoGravity Lab at the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point), or if we’re going to establish permanent settlements on the Moon – then we need to figure out how to feed ourselves. We need to figure out how to recycle every step in the food processing cycle. We need to optimize plant growth, harvest, and re-use of those materials. Impact BioEnergy is just one piece of a grand and complicated puzzle. I was proud that they solicited my advice and opinions. I hope I was helpful. I’ll go back in a few weeks to check in on some other developments. Hopefully, I’ll have more to report.
Take care, mjl