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#1 2021-05-15 17:06:20

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Advanced food production

Speculation of advanced food production. Speculated about starship food production for a TV show or sci-fi book.

In the "Large scale colonization ship" thread, I described life support for a large ship for Mars: 6 months to Mars. Using technologies that either exist or can be developed in the short term. Let's start with that...

Existing technology:

  • CO2 removed from cabin air with a regenerable sorbent. Amine paste painted on styrofoam peas, regenerated periodically via heat and partial vacuum. Alternative is silver oxide granules; more compact but more mass.

  • remove bad smells with activated carbon. That's charcoal turned into an open cell foam. Also regenerated with heat and partial vacuum.

  • urine filtered to remove remove water

  • some concentrated urine aged with bacteria to produce nitrate fertilizer with a little potassium and phosphate for hydroponics, the rest transferred to waste receptacle.

  • feces vacuum desiccated. Dry feces ground in a garburator, transported by auger and pressurized air to waste receptacle.

  • water processor: from filtered urine, desiccated feces, and wash water

  • recycling shower: cyclone separation, then filtration. Result: 70% of water that goes down the drain, comes back out the shower head. Reduces water consumption and energy to heat water. Water not recycled goes to water processor

  • aquaponics: combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Grow fresh vegetables. Parts of plants that aren't edible (stems, leaves) fed to fish. Fish poop used as fertilizer. Fertilizer from urine used only for hydroponic crops with produce above ground, not root crops.

short-term technology:

  • chloroplast oxygen generator. Chloroplasts isolated from leaves of a plant stored in sterile water in a transparent plastic bag. Light on bag as energy source. Sunlight can be directed by mirror through a window, but UV must be filtered out to avoid damaging chloroplasts. Plastic is semi-permeable to let O2 out. To promote O2 getting out, circulate water inside bag with a pump, blow air across outside of bag with a fan.

  • chloroplasts will produce carbohydrate as byproduct. Peas are the easist to isolate chloroplasts. Peas produce pea starch. Filter starch from water of oxygen generator bags, dry starch for use in kitchens.

  • Emergency food: starch dissolved in water, add bread yeast and ferment for 3 days. Cook in microwave oven. Result is translucent white with consistency of pudding, flavour and aroma of freshly baked bread. Yeast adds a little protein, lipids, and full vitamin B complex (except B12).

  • break down starch with enzyme (amylase) to produce sugar

  • amylase produced by a species of mould grown in a vat on starch

New speculative technology:

  • cultured meat. This requires a lot of animal hormones.

  • grow animal hormones in vats with genetically modified bacteria. Bacteria fed sugar.

  • flour: mostly starch, so start with pea starch. Grow protein and lipids appropriate for bread flour with genetically modified yeast, grown in a vat. Bacteria fed sugar. Dry and grind yeast, mix with starch to produce flour.

  • bake bread from aforementioned flour: sandwich bread, buns for burgers, etc

  • hydroponically grown potatoes. Can we grow potatoes large enough for french fries? With potato plant roots in hydroponic solution, possibly stabilized with vermiculite. Potatoes grow a "stolon", which is a modified plant stem, not a root. A potato grows on the end of each stolon, one stolon per potato. Normally potatoes grow underground, but for hydroponics is it possible for machinery to move the end of each stolon to some sort of cage, separate from roots? Perhaps more vermiculite to support the potato? The goal is to remove the vegetable from hydroponic solution, and separate the vegetable so it can be easily harvested without killing the plant. Potato is perennial: the plant dies with winter cold, but re-grows in spring from the tuber (the potato). How long can we keep a plant alive and producing before starting over?

Potato details: As long as temperature is warm, the plant has plenty of water and nutrients and light, the plant will continue to grow. And continue to produce potatoes. Potato plants produce fruit, about the size of cherry tomatoes. The fruit contains about 300 seeds each. Seeds do grow, but plants are not consistent. Plants grown from potato sections are a clone of the parent. Seeds are where new varieties come from. Potato fruit is poisonous, as are stems and leaves, only the tuber is edible. Potato is part of the Nightshade family. But potato flowers require pollination to produce fruit, so an enclosed hydroponic operation can keep pollinators out.

I still argue for soil agriculture for greenhouses on Mars. Hydroponics requires nutrient solution. Why create industry to extract nutrients from Mars dirt? More efficient to treat Mars dirt to produce arable soil.

Menu: salad

  • romaine lettuce

  • raw spinach

  • tomatoes: cherry and regular

  • sliced bell peppers (green & red)

  • sliced cucumber

  • grated carrots

  • snap peas (stringless)

  • green beans

  • strawberry

  • green onion

  • bean sprouts

  • broccoli

Croutons can be made from bread baked on the ship.

Mushrooms can be grown in compost: white (aka button), portobellow, cremini/crimini, oyster mushrooms

Could we produce vegetable oil with vat-grown bacteria instead of plants? For cooking oil and salad dressing?
Microbial vat-grown casein for cheese?

Ketchup

entrée:

  • burger

  • dinner roll

  • chicken sandwich: ground/pressed chicken patty, chicken salad

  • Salisbury steak: just a burger patty without the bun, usually served with gravy and mushrooms

  • french fries (aka chips)

  • potato chips (aka crisps)

  • mashed potatoes

  • meatloaf

  • tilapia fish steak

  • sashimi: tilapia only. Not sushi. Sushi has rice, maki is layers of fish and rice wrapped in seaweed. I'm suggesting no rice or seaweed.

  • pancake / waffle

A starship would have some stored food, but producing the bulk along the way greatly reduces the amount of stored food.

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#2 2021-05-15 17:13:27

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 885

Re: Advanced food production

Food has been produced on the ISS,  I believe Shuttle lab and the Russian Mir also studied plant growth the only other place I know that food was produced was the Chinese mission on the Moon, they might have grown stuff on a Chinese station but I never read of it. Seeds were seen close-up growing and sprouting under a Lunar protective cover inside the Chinese Moon-Rover but I believe they later died under the intense temperature changes on the Lunar surface.  The Mars farm might be much easier, it has a solar day lasts 24 hours, 39 minutes, an atmosphere to regulate temperatures better. Plants may be used for more than just foods, to remove poisonous carbon dioxide from the air, while creating life-giving oxygen in return

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2021-05-15 17:15:02)

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#3 2021-05-15 18:15:36

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Advanced food production

Salads are bland without a dressing to add flavor
vinegar
olives
soybean

https://www.encyclopedia.com/food/encyc … cial-foods

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#4 2021-05-15 18:53:19

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

My big idea here is to use pea starch for flour. Flour is 70-75% starch, 10-12% protein, 2-3% polysaccharides, 2% lipids. (reference) So develop a yeast to grow the other parts. This produces flour without a wheat field.

Vinegar is made by growing the vinegar bacillus in sugar water. Be careful not to mix that with other culture vats, because vinegar tends to like the same food and growing conditions as yeast. White vinegar is distilled. Wine vinegar is grape juice that is "fermented" with the vinegar bacillus instead of yeast. Yeast turns grape juice into wine (makes alcohol).

And this: Technology Startup Creates Lab-Grown Palm Oil

Green startup C16 Biosciences has developed a lab-grown alternative to palm oil.
...
C16 was able to create a sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative to palm oil using yeast, that grows in tap water, and feeding it a feedstock or carbon source to multiply.
...
“Fermentation is a well-proven commercial process that has been used for centuries to convert raw materials into consumable commercial products consumed by billions of people every day,” C16’s website says. “We believe that brewing palm oil like beer is the best and most likely path to developing a truly sustainable palm oil alternative.”

Now can we do that with vegetable oil?

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#5 2021-05-15 19:02:36

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,347

Re: Advanced food production

For RobertDyck re new topic !!! Great Start! Best wishes for the topic!

Would someone be willing to contact C16 Biosciences to ask the question posted in Post #3?

(th)

Online

#6 2021-05-15 19:23:38

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: Advanced food production

Lots of good ideas there!

I think it's quite likely that Mars will never see a domesticated animal reared for meat. Maybe animals like deer that live wild will be permitted for meat consumption as part of approved culls. But domesticated animals reared solely for human consumption...I think not.

As well as cultured meat, there is the "Impossible Burger" option of producing food that is as near as dammit to meat, as you cover every taste, texture and nutrient option with vegetarian components (there are plants for example that have contents very similar to mammal blood).



RobertDyck wrote:

Speculation of advanced food production. Speculated about starship food production for a TV show or sci-fi book.

In the "Large scale colonization ship" thread, I described life support for a large ship for Mars: 6 months to Mars. Using technologies that either exist or can be developed in the short term. Let's start with that...

Existing technology:

  • CO2 removed from cabin air with a regenerable sorbent. Amine paste painted on styrofoam peas, regenerated periodically via heat and partial vacuum. Alternative is silver oxide granules; more compact but more mass.

  • remove bad smells with activated carbon. That's charcoal turned into an open cell foam. Also regenerated with heat and partial vacuum.

  • urine filtered to remove remove water

  • some concentrated urine aged with bacteria to produce nitrate fertilizer with a little potassium and phosphate for hydroponics, the rest transferred to waste receptacle.

  • feces vacuum desiccated. Dry feces ground in a garburator, transported by auger and pressurized air to waste receptacle.

  • water processor: from filtered urine, desiccated feces, and wash water

  • recycling shower: cyclone separation, then filtration. Result: 70% of water that goes down the drain, comes back out the shower head. Reduces water consumption and energy to heat water. Water not recycled goes to water processor

  • aquaponics: combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Grow fresh vegetables. Parts of plants that aren't edible (stems, leaves) fed to fish. Fish poop used as fertilizer. Fertilizer from urine used only for hydroponic crops with produce above ground, not root crops.

short-term technology:

  • chloroplast oxygen generator. Chloroplasts isolated from leaves of a plant stored in sterile water in a transparent plastic bag. Light on bag as energy source. Sunlight can be directed by mirror through a window, but UV must be filtered out to avoid damaging chloroplasts. Plastic is semi-permeable to let O2 out. To promote O2 getting out, circulate water inside bag with a pump, blow air across outside of bag with a fan.

  • chloroplasts will produce carbohydrate as byproduct. Peas are the easist to isolate chloroplasts. Peas produce pea starch. Filter starch from water of oxygen generator bags, dry starch for use in kitchens.

  • Emergency food: starch dissolved in water, add bread yeast and ferment for 3 days. Cook in microwave oven. Result is translucent white with consistency of pudding, flavour and aroma of freshly baked bread. Yeast adds a little protein, lipids, and full vitamin B complex (except B12).

  • break down starch with enzyme (amylase) to produce sugar

  • amylase produced by a species of mould grown in a vat on starch

New speculative technology:

  • cultured meat. This requires a lot of animal hormones.

  • grow animal hormones in vats with genetically modified bacteria. Bacteria fed sugar.

  • flour: mostly starch, so start with pea starch. Grow protein and lipids appropriate for bread flour with genetically modified yeast, grown in a vat. Bacteria fed sugar. Dry and grind yeast, mix with starch to produce flour.

  • bake bread from aforementioned flour: sandwich bread, buns for burgers, etc

  • hydroponically grown potatoes. Can we grow potatoes large enough for french fries? With potato plant roots in hydroponic solution, possibly stabilized with vermiculite. Potatoes grow a "stolon", which is a modified plant stem, not a root. A potato grow on the end of each stolon, one stolon per potato. Normally potatoes grow underground, but for hydroponics is it possible for machinery to move the end of each stolon to some sort of cage, separate from roots? Perhaps more vermiculite to support the potato? The goal is to remove the vegetable from hydroponic solution, and separate the vegetable so it can be easily harvested without killing the plant. Potato is perennial: the plant dies with winter cold, but re-grows in spring from the tuber (the potato). How long can we keep a plant alive and producing before starting over?

Potato details: As long as temperature is warm, the plant has plenty of water and nutrients and light, the plant will continue to grow. And continue to produce potatoes. Potato plants produce fruit, about the size of cherry tomatoes. The fruit contains about 300 seeds each. Seeds do grow, but plants are not consistent. Plants grown from potato sections are a clone of the parent. Seeds are where new varieties come from. Potato fruit is poisonous, as are stems and leaves, only the tuber is edible. Potato is part of the Nightshade family. But potato flowers require pollination to produce fruit, so an enclosed hydroponic operation can keep pollinators out.

I still argue for soil agriculture for greenhouses on Mars. Hydroponics requires nutrient solution. Why create industry to extract nutrients from Mars dirt? More efficient to treat Mars dirt to produce arable soil.

Menu: salad

  • romaine lettuce

  • raw spinach

  • tomatoes: cherry and regular

  • sliced bell peppers (green & red)

  • sliced cucumber

  • grated carrots

  • snap peas (stringless)

  • green beans

  • strawberry

  • green onion

  • bean sprouts

  • broccoli

Croutons can be made from bread baked on the ship from flour brought from Mars.

Mushrooms can be grown in compost: white (aka button), portobellow, cremini/crimini, oyster mushrooms

Could we produce vegetable oil with vat-grown bacteria instead of plants? For cooking oil and salad dressing?
Microbial vat-grown casein for cheese?

Ketchup

entrée:

  • burger

  • dinner roll

  • chicken sandwich: ground/pressed chicken patty, chicken salad

  • Salisbury steak: just a burger patty without the bun, usually served with gravy and mushrooms

  • french fries (aka chips)

  • potato chips (aka crisps)

  • mashed potatoes

  • meatloaf

  • tilapia fish steak

  • sashimi: tilapia only. Not sushi. Sushi has rice, maki is layers of fish and rice wrapped in seaweed. I'm suggesting no rice or seaweed.

  • pancake / waffle

A starship would have some stored food, but producing the bulk along the way greatly reduces the amount of stored food.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2021-05-15 20:16:20

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

louis wrote:

Lots of good ideas there!

I think it's quite likely that Mars will never see a domesticated animal reared for meat. Maybe animals like deer that live wild will be permitted for meat consumption as part of approved culls. But domesticated animals reared solely for human consumption...I think not.

As well as cultured meat, there is the "Impossible Burger" option of producing food that is as near as dammit to meat, as you cover every taste, texture and nutrient option with vegetarian components (there are plants for example that have contents very similar to mammal blood).

Yea, I agree. I expect Mars will be vegan. Not for any philosophical reason, just because it's practical. For example, pigs eat the same food we do, just less processed. It takes several pounds of animal feed to produce one pound of meat. Yes, meat has greater concentration of energy, but number of calories of food energy per unit area of greenhouse is greatest when you eat vegan. I expect veggie substitutes for meat. "Impossible Burger" is greatly improved vs previous versions. I kept the wrapper of a package I bought a few years ago, specifically so I could read the list of ingredients: "Yves original veggie ground round. Gives an an idea what's involved. By Canadian regulations, food products must list ingredients by relative quantity, so the first ingredients is the one for which there's the most. Of course they can make ingredients obscure; for example "glucose-fructose" is another way of saying "sucrose" which is normal white sugar. And General Foods International Coffee is a flavoured instant coffee powder; I noticed it includes silicon dioxide; that's sand. And cyanocobalamin is a form of vitamin B12.

Water, soy protein product, onions, natural flavours, canola oil, salt, guar gum, evaporated cane syrup, malt extract, caramel (colour), spices, yeast extract, vitamins and minerals (thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, calcium pantothenate, ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide), wheat starch.

A couple anecdotes. The local chapter of the Mars Society includes a couple vegan members. Well, we haven't met since COVID, but you get the idea. I mentioned that Mars will be vegan for a long time, at least until Mars has sufficient population and industry to afford the extreme expense of keeping livestock on a planet without a breathable atmosphere. The vegan members wanted Mars to stay vegan, believe that once people get used to it, they will want to stay vegan. But when I mentioned this to a few Mars Society members who aren't vegan, they got upset! They said they refuse to go to Mars unless they can have their meat. Ok, so I did some research how to transport livestock to Mars. It isn't easy; you don't want to be in a spacecraft with a cow freaking out over zero-G. That calmed the down the carnivores. Then PETA sent the cabbage girls (lettuce ladies) to meet Elon Musk at one of his press conferences. He wasn't prepared, his response was that he isn't the overlord of Mars. Once again I would like to apologize to Elon. I'm the one who stirred up the vegans.

However, I started this discussion when I was thinking about a science fiction starship. The original Enterprise from Star Trek TOS (1966-1969) did not have replicators. It did have food processing machinery. So what exactly is that machinery? So I started with life support that I came up with for the "Large scale colonization ship", then added "New speculative technology". You can grow a wheat field or barley field in a greenhouse on Mars, but a ship isn't big enough. Mars greenhouses can even grow an orchard of coffee trees, or sugar cane for molasses and brown sugar, vanilla vines for vanilla bean, pepper vines for black pepper, bay laurel trees for bay leaf, cinnamomum verum trees for cinnamon, etc. Grape vines can be grown for table grapes, wine, or processed for tartaric acid, an ingredient for baking powder. But a ship has limited space.

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#8 2021-05-15 20:50:36

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

Hmm. This could be profitable industry here on Earth. Bags of chloroplasts that convert water and CO2 into O2 and starch. Even if you don't use the O2, that's practically free starch. If the peas can be genetically engineered so invitro chloroplasts remain viable for 6 months, that becomes profitable. Energy source is sunlight. Don't use artificial light, just sunlight. So the industrial facility will produce very little starch during a cloudy or rainy day, so what. Sunlight is free. Then feed some of the starch to a vat to grow mould for amylase. Then use amylase to break starch into sugar. This produces white sugar without any fields. Well... fields of plastic bags full of sterile water with chloroplasts. And a greenhouse can grow peas to 14 days from germination, so they can harvest leaves to produce the chloroplasts. Then grow vats of special yeast for the protein etc for flour. That means the facility could sell flour without any wheat field.

Individuals with celiac disease cannot eat gluten. Flour made with pea starch instead of wheat starch? Could you replace gluten with another protein that is safe for those who require a gluten-free diet? Yet the protein can hold together bread or pasta? Flour for gluten free bread and pasta would sell.

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#9 2021-05-16 06:25:36

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,347

Re: Advanced food production

For RobertDyck .... you seem to be on a roll here ....

Is there something forum members could do to help turn the idea of #8 into a going enterprise?

Contacts they might know?  Letters they might write?  Investors who might be willing to gamble a megabuck or two?  Existing companies interested in new products?

(th)

Online

#10 2021-05-16 10:09:43

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

The tricky thing is how do we do that without someone just stealing my ideas? It has happened before. I posted my idea of an experiment for carbon nanofibres. Chemists had devised not just one, but a couple catalysts to grow carbon nanofibres. The probably is they could only grow 1/10th of a millimetre long. One researcher claimed he achieved 3/10th of millimetre, but no one has been able to verify that. Even if he did, that's still not useful. I suggested a way to extrude a continuous ribbon. One researcher tried my experiment, exactly as I described, right down to brand name of the supplies. It worked. They can now produce continuous ribbons of carbon nanofibre. Or if you twist while pulling, a thread. Threads can be braided to form rope. Or ribbons can be woven to form sheets. He got all the credit.

The trick is finding investors who are actually willing to invest. Not just steal my ideas.

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#11 2021-05-16 10:41:35

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,347

Re: Advanced food production

For RobertDyck re #10

Thanks for the great news that an idea you came up with is practical and useful in real life!

After many years I have ** finally ** arrived at what I hope is a better understanding of how intellectual property works (or doesn't) (or ** could ** ) work.

The focus here is building a viable business using the ideas you have suggested.

The first hurdle/question is whether the idea is already covered by an IP claim.  Unfortunately (from my experience) is is likely to be expensive to find out.

However, you can publish your idea (as you have done) and then report your publication of the idea to the Patent Office (in your case in Canada).

The idea is to block anyone from claiming the IP (at least in Canada). 

Next step is to start to build a case for funding, secure in the knowledge that you are the domain expert, and any funder would have to pay more for someone else to develop your idea into a business than would be the case if they just paid you in the first place.

There is an EXACT model of that concept at work right now in the forum.  Marc has developed (and is still finishing) a concept for a minicomputer that can be made from robust lower grade silicon chips.  His business model is to offer to serve as the domain expert for any entity willing to invest in building up the concept for use in commercial products.  These would be remarkably robust and suitable for use in space (for example).

My point is that if you publish the work, and then PROTECT the publication as free and open, then you are freed up to concentrate on becoming the best manager of the process anyone could hire, so they would tend to hire you for that role.

***
Back to the nanofibers .... I see a crucial difference .... at the time you published the idea for making longer fibers, I'm guessing of course, but I ** think ** you did not have the resources to develop the idea to the point of demonstration.

It would have been "nice" if the chemist who achieved the demonstration had shared the fruits of labor with you (if his work was based upon your idea).

However, there is a very significant (definitely non-Zero) chance the chemist did not read your post, and simple came up with the working formula because that is the only formula that the Universe will allow.

I recommend you investigate to see if the chemist was aware of your post.

If (as it suspect) the ideas were spontaneously created independently, then you would potentially be in position to ask if you might be able to license the IP needed to actually make the fibers.

In ** that ** conversation, you might learn that the chemist is wanting to build his business, and might be willing to consider (negotiated) partnership of some kind.

In any case, congratulations (again) for thinking of a solution to the short-nano-fiber problem!

***
Question for you !!! Can the fiber you have in mind be made into a loop?  I ask because (for a number of years now) I've been hoping to find a way to make loops of nanofiber so they can be fashioned into a rope.  I even made a psuedo-rope of loops of plastic ring snaps to show how the concept would work.

The strength of a length of nanofiber can be propagated over a long distance the way the strength of steel chain loops is propagated over great lengths.

(th)

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#12 2021-05-16 11:54:18

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

There are companies working on some of this now.
Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet
The company mentioned in this article wants to do something similar. But they aren't interested in space. Their "hydrogen pathway" that they claim is more efficient than photosynthesis, will not generate oxygen. I started with an oxygen generator for life support on a space station. But... there could be some common ground. Again the worry is they'll think it's all theirs, steel my ideas and cut me out.

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#13 2021-05-16 12:20:59

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

My idea for the fibres was actually fairly simple. I don't know enough chemistry to devise a catalyst to make them. My hypothesis was gravity pushed the fibres down into the catalyst, when enough weight pressed on the catalyst, the reaction would stop. Chemists at the time fabricated a square with catalyst at multiple points. One fibre would grow from each catalyst on the square. The result was a "forest" (their word) of carbon nanofibres.

This reminded me of a demonstration of making nylon. A clear glass cylinder was filled with one clear colourless liquid, then a second liquid on top. Where the two liquids touched, they reacted to form a film of nylon. The demonstrator used a metal hook to reach in and hook the centre of the film, then pull it up. Because he pulled through the upper liquid, the film collapsed to a narrow tube. But as he pulled, as soon as the film separated from the glass cylinder wall, the two liquids met again. They reacted forming more film. So the demonstrator could pull and pull, the film would never end until all the liquid was gone.

Ok, so my idea was grab the carbon nanofibres with the glue end of a Post-it note. Use the Post-it note to pull the fibres from the catalyst bed. My hypothesis is as soon as the fibre separated, more fibre would form on the exposed catalyst. As long as raw material was provided to the catalyst bed, this should result in a continuous extrusion. Automated machinery would pull the fibres, winding them on some sort of spindle. The reason for a Post-it note is the glue is strong enough to hold, but weak enough that it can be pealed off without damaging the fibres.

The researcher did use a Post-it note. He used a steel wheel to wind the ribbon. Pulling at an angle so the individual fibres would touch and combine to form a ribbon. It worked. When he analyzed the result, he found the ribbon was composed of individual fibrils of only 1/10th mm each. I wasn't expecting that; I hoped for long fibres. Shorter fibrils meant the ribbon did not have all the strength that theoretical chemists had hoped for, but it was still stronger than steel. Stronger than graphite fibre.

The researcher went on to try more things. If he twists while pulling, instead of a ribbon, it forms a thread. Thread can be braided to form a rope. That's a detail I hadn't considered. He also found the fibrils were held together with Van der Waals force. I hadn't thought of that, I just hoped to form continuous fibres, and hoped they would somehow stick together.

You're right, I didn't have the resources to try it myself. But still notice the Post-it note. That's too specific to be a coincidence. Yes, the researcher had a Ph.D. and funding for his lab specifically for carbon nanofibre research. He went on beyond my little idea, but it was my idea that got past their obstacle.

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#14 2021-05-19 19:42:08

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: Advanced food production

Salt and baking soda:

There is a process to make baking soda that isn't normally used. It's not economic on Earth. But a ship won't have access to limestone or other consumables.
CO2 + NaOH → NaHCO3

Electrolysis of salt: start with brine (highly concentrated salt water). Electrolysis across a membrane. Supply brine to anode side of membrane, sodium hydroxide (NaOH) will form on cathode side. Chlorine gas will bubble off anode. Hydrogen gas will bubble off cathode. Sodium hydroxide is known as lye or caustic soda; very strong alkali. Draw NaOH to another reaction bottle, then bubble CO2 gas through. Add enough CO2 gas to completely consume all NaOH. Then vacuum desiccate to dry baking soda solution to a powder.
yx1rjeiosbio9z4vfcpk.png

HCl:

Bubble Cl2 gas and H2 gas under pressure through clean, pure water. The gasses will dissolve forming hydrochloric acid.

Salt from urine:

Urine concentrate will have most moisture removed. Chemical composition of urine

Urine is an aqueous solution of greater than 95% water, with a minimum of these remaining constituents, in order of decreasing concentration:

  • Urea 9.3 g/L

  • Chloride 1.87 g/L

  • Sodium 1.17 g/L

  • Potassium 0.750 g/L

  • Creatinine 0.670 g/L

  • Other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds (proteins, hormones, metabolites)

I found a post on another forum that mentioned the above. It also stated...

Urine color is generally a result of the degradation of the heme molecule from blood into the urinary products, called bilirubin, urobilinogen, urochrome, urobilin and uroerythrin. In essence, they are all tetrapyrroles amounting to something on the order of 1mg per 100ml (or roughly 0.001% of urine)... so this is a very minor part of urine. Also, it should be noted that over 3,000 chemicals have been found in urine, so there's something to consider.

I thought of adding hydrogen chloride (hydrochloric acid) to this urine concentrate to cause salt to precipitate. If salt is at saturation, adding another chlorine salt will cause other chlorine salts to precipitate out. This would result in both NaCl (table salt) and KCl (salt substitute) to precipitate. The problem is quantities. Only enough would precipitate to to produce baking soda. Because baking soda would consume all NaOH, and HCl is a byproduct of NaOH. If you want pure food grade salt for cooking, we'll need another process.

YouTube: Purification of Sodium Chloride from rock salt

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#15 2021-05-19 20:34:51

RobertDyck
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Re: Advanced food production

In the Crops discussion thread, I estimated greenhouse area required for each food crop. Calculated for 12 crew. As mentioned, this thread could be speculation for some science fiction story. Or could be used for the Large scale colonization ship. The latter was designed for 1,000 passengers, but could carry a maximum of 1,600 passengers if crowded into maximum number of passengers per cabin. So multiply greenhouse area by 100 (1,200 passengers and crew instead of 12). Potatoes were estimated as 145 m² for 12 people, so 14,500 m². That's way too big for the ship. So scale back: carry potatoes in food storage. That could be some fresh potatoes in refrigeration, but also frozen french fries, powdered mashed potatoes, and dried scalloped potatoes. Dehydrated means lower mass.

Food tissue culture? Just no. Stored meat (frozen, canned) and stored entrées.

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#16 2021-05-20 08:42:01

RobertDyck
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Re: Advanced food production

I wonder. The image above is a salt electrolysis cell. It uses a semipermeable membrane. Is there a membrane that will allow both sodium and potassium ions to pass, but not organics such as urea, creatinine, bilirubin, or other tetrapyrroles. So concentrated urine that still has just enough water so salt concentration is ideal for the electrolysis cell. A mixture of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide forms on the other; call that lye. Chlorine gas and hydrogen gas bubbled under pressure through clean water to form hydrochloric acid. Lye is reacted with hydrochloric acid, neutralizing pH. Result is salt water; pure salt water. They dry to form salt. In fact you could bubble the gasses directly through the lye solution, no need to form acid separately.

Is there a semipermeable membrane that will pass sodium and not potassium? Or vice versa? So we could produce normal sodium chloride salt, and potassium chloride (salt substitute) separately?

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#17 2021-05-29 05:11:55

RobertDyck
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Re: Advanced food production

Soap

Soap is formed by reacting lye with oil. It can be done with animal fat, but the fat has to be heated to melt it. It can be done with vegetable oil. In post #4 I mentioned a company producing a replacement for palm oil with vat grown microbes. Other microbes produce other oils. Some yeast produce oil. This can be used to make cooking oil. But oil can be reacted with sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide to form soap. Sodium hydroxide produces firm or hard soap, potassium hydroxide produces softer soap such as liquid soap. Whether the oil is firm or liquid also affects the soap. Palm oil (or equivalent) with NaOH will produce bar soap, cooking oil (or equivalent) with KOH will produce liquid soap.

  • liquid soap for washing hands

  • shampoo

  • laundry soap

  • dish soap / dishwasher soap

How Is Shampoo Different Than Soap?

Shampoos also need to be delicate, able to cleanse without degreasing, easy to rinse out, and formulated to minimize eye irritation. Most shampoos have a pH level between four and six, which is close to the natural pH level of hair.

Even if you're tempted to use shampoo on your skin instead of body wash, you'll find that it often leaves your skin feeling slimy. Soap or liquid body wash is formulated with stronger detergents for your skin, which can often contain more oil and dirt than your hair usually does.

The water processor will produce a waste stream of body oil, hair oil, soap / shampoo, dirt, etc. This isn't urine, it isn't feces, but it isn't grey water either. This liquid waste can be broken down to form fertilizer for hydroponics.

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#18 2021-06-06 13:29:43

RobertDyck
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Re: Advanced food production

Yeast nutrient

With so many processes that use vat grown yeast, we'll need yeast nutrient. For home wine making, yeast nutrient is diammonium phosphate. That's two molecules of ammonia bonded to one molecule of phosphate. Yeast requires nitrogen for protein, phosphate for DNA and metabolism (ADP/ATP). It's a salt so can be easily made by reacting ammonia with phosphoric acid. So we need to extract ammonia and phosphate from human urine. This must be food grade pure, because it will be used to make vodka, gin, and various vat-grown products.

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#19 2021-07-10 14:23:06

Mars_B4_Moon
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Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 885

Re: Advanced food production

Engineers Develop a New Water Treatment Technology That Could Also Help Mars Explorers
https://scitechdaily.com/engineers-deve … explorers/

The Chinese Lunar Rover had a bio Dome inside, its Moon mission sees plants and seeds sprout on the Moon, they would later die from the Moon's extreme temperatures.

China outlines space plans to 2025
https://spacenews.com/china-outlines-sp … s-to-2025/

Growing Vegetables in Antarctica in the EDEN ISS Project
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=54922

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