Space Controlled Environment Agriculture: The Future of Sustainable Food Production. Indoor Farming; Vertical Farming
Controlled Environment Agriculture Space Farming

Space Controlled Environment Agriculture: The Future of Sustainable Food Production

According to a recent study by Wright et al., 2023, the future of food production may lie beyond our planet. The research emphasizes the growing significance of terrestrial controlled environment agriculture (CEA) in food production. However, while promising, the current CEA systems are plagued with challenges, being energy-intensive, resource-hungry, and often not profitable.

The study introduces a novel concept: space-controlled environment agriculture (SpaCEA). Unlike its terrestrial counterpart, SpaCEA is designed to be highly resource-efficient and inherently circular. Given space’s constraints and unique challenges, SpaCEA systems must optimize every resource, presenting a golden opportunity to develop truly sustainable and circular CEA systems.

The researchers advocate for the use of life-cycle analysis tools. These tools can be instrumental in optimizing various elements in both CEA and SpaCEA systems, such as utilizing natural or electrical light, power distribution, nutrient management, and infrastructure development. By harnessing these tools, there’s potential to steer research and development towards subsystems that offer significant environmental benefits.

Interestingly, the study also touches upon the potential of SpaCEA in public outreach. By showcasing space as a platform to exhibit advanced CEA food-growing technologies, it can reshape public perception and boost the acceptance of terrestrial CEA on Earth.

In conclusion, the research underscores the importance of a robust focus on SpaCEA development. Doing so can serve as a pivotal step in addressing the pressing challenges faced by current CEA systems, ultimately paving the way for a sustainable future in food production both on Earth and beyond.

Read the rest of the study here.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash 

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