Introduction: Hackerspace Earthship (HAESH): Homemade Environmental Control Life Support System (E.C.L.S.S.)
In space, there are no oceans or forests to absorb your co2, no aquifers to pump water from, no soil to grow your crops, and no dump to throw your waste. Earth is its own massive space ship and to travel beyond it we must extract its secrets and replicate it on a much smaller scale. This project seeks to directly develop space hardware for use in extraterrestrial habitats, ie urban food production, sustainability technology, small scale industrial processing, water purification, waste treatment, algae farming, environmental monitoring tools, advanced manufacturing, etc. These are areas of space hardware development that are in the grasp of a hackerspace, makerspace, or community workshop. Together we hope to stitch these separate technologies into a viable one man closed cycle habitat.
HAESH project challenges the status quo for ECLSS development by making a working biodome from your local hardware store and the internet. Budgeting the project carefully makes this project affordable for the average maker to do with some friends. The materials and hardware for creating the system were designed to make the build cheap, easy, and modular.
We constructed a closed cycle habitat for one person. We utilized hardware such as LEDs, micro controllers, sensors, and other technologies were used to create an ECLSS. The HAESH project seeks to use technology to bio-mimic natures processes to support a person. Each hardware module will also be useful on earth as a sustainable home technology study.
In summation we will describe our trials and tribulations in detail. We will show what we learned and how you can do it too. We divided the project in to modules and created instructables for each module. Each module system can be adapted for other uses such as bunkers, submarines, spaceships, your home, or even rural villages.
Step 1: Infrastructure Module
Tank and Stand - The tank is a giant agriculture tank with 5000 gallon capacity. We were donated the tank from a local algae farm here on Maui and allowed to modify the tank for our project. The tank stand is constructed of steel and made for the tank and allows for the tank to stand vertically stationary under load.
Gantries and Platforms - The gantry for the tank is a tank gantry system made for the tank. We modified the gantry and pulled it out in front of the tank to create framing for our platform. The platform is constructed from sheets of plywood and screwed together across the top of the gantry frame.
Utilities Ports - utilities ports are two existing 4" ports on the top of the tank. The ports and have been fitted with bulkhead fittings and sealed. The ports allow for electricity, air conditioning, and water travel into the habitat while remaining under pressure and sealed from the outside atmosphere.
Entry Port - The entry point is constructed with the installation of a locking hatch door purchased from the boating store for an airtight seal and tinted window to see out. The entry port is small but large enough to comfortably move in and out through the ladder inside. The hatch has been sealed with silicon to ensure air tight.
Internal Platform - The internal platform was constructed from a modular steel beam product known as unistrut. Unistrut can be used to make just about anything and we used it to build a cube inside the water tank. This cube is what the inhabitants will live on inside the habitat, plants and people alike. We also used plastic decking for the floor.
Step 2: Atmosphere Module
Algea - Chlorella is a genus of single-cell green algae. Through photosynthesis, it multiplies rapidly, requiring only carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and a small amount of minerals to reproduce. Many people believe Chlorella could serve as a potential source of food and energy because its photosynthetic efficiency can, in theory, reach 8%, comparable with other highly efficient crops such as sugar cane.
Bio-reactor Domes - 2 Plastic domes were glued together to create a spherical dome bioreactor. Fittings were added to transfer air and water. Under each dome is a 300 watt led grow light array for night time production. The air from the bioreactors is pumped from and to the habitat for 02 generation and co2 sequestration. A sub-instructable on how you can do this can be found here.
Sensors - Ardunios, sensors, and labview are used to monitor co2, o2, humidity, air temperature, and VOCs, while calculating dew point, and triggering toxic gas level warnings. More detailed instructions can be found here.
Air Conditioning - A commercial air conditioning unit was used to control humidity and temperature. Condensed humidity was then transferred to the fresh water storage tanks on board. We gathered roughly a gallon of water in a few hours of use.
Step 3: Freshwater Module
AC condenser - Air conditioning condensate is collected in a tank from atmosphere inside the habitat
Tank - Our tank is constructed with two 5 foot 4" diameter pipes that were connected and serve as the collection tank
RV Diaphragm Pump - This pump pressurizes the system to 60 psi.
Sediment Filters - This filters out any dust that washed off of the AC condenser and other micro particulate suspensions in the water.
Pressure Tank - Pressure tanks help to elongate the pumps lifespan because they allow them to run when they are needed without continuous running requirements for power management efficiency. Pressure tanks will also reduce water hammer instances helping to keep the water in the lines at a constant pressure.
UV Cleansing - Once past the filter and tank water passes through the UV disinfection unit where 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses, etc are killed.
Re-mineralization - Once the valve is opened pressurized water is pushed through a mineralization pump and into the drinking vessel. Re-mineralization is necessary to maintain the proper proportion of minerals, salts and pH in your body and maintain health.
Piping - Pipes are copper for its natural antibiotic properties.
More detailed instructions can be found here.
Step 4: Waste Water Treatment
Waste Water Treatment
Biogas - An Anaerobic Biogas Reactor is a chamber or vault that facilitates the anaerobic degradation of blackwater, sludge, and/or biodegradable waste. It also facilitates the separation and collection of the biogas that is produced. The residence time of the fluid in the reactor should a minimum of 15 days in hot climates and 25 days in temperate climates. For highly pathogenic inputs, a residence time of 60 days was factored for test conditions in the habitat. Thermophilic conditions allow for pathogen disinfectant of the waste products within the habitat (i.e. a sustained temperature over 50°C). Once waste products enter the digestion chamber, gases are formed through fermentation. The gas forms in the sludge but collects at the top of the reactor, mixing the slurry as it rises. The system will produce nutrients for the wetlands, algae and hydroponic gardens.
Hydrostatic Filter - Centrifugal force creates transverse flow patterns in a curved channel, which under certain circumstances manifest themselves as a pair of Dean vortices. As particles flow down the channel, they spiral around the Dean vortex cores while a combination of drag and shear-induced forces move them toward the channel center. Under the correct conditions (specified by channel geometry and flow rate), this dynamic causes the particles to focus into a band near the outside wall. At the end of the length of the channel, the single flow is separated into two flows: the concentrate and effluent outputs.
Although HDS technology leverages centrifugal force, it is different than centrifuges and hydrocyclones. Instead of relying on density differences between particles and fluid, HDS technology is solely based on hydrodynamic forces, resulting in a particle size dependent separation that allows for direct concentration of particles of any density, including neutrally buoyant ones.
UV - The UV filtration unit is a small stainless steel tank that has a inner housing with a UV bulb that allows the passing of water around the bulb for sanitizing and treatment of water collection systems.
Wetland - The bottom of the habitat has a constructed wetland to utilize several plants species to consume the nutrients produced by the bio gas reactor is producing from human excrement, plant wastes and broken down consumables and biodegradable habitat waste products.
Step 5: Food Module
Aquaponics - Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. In our system we have removed the fish and replaced them with human waste streams; Humiponics...
Aeroponics - The aeroponics system was designed to utilize the same water feed as the humiponics. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. Typically it uses high pressure misters which when used with organic effluent streams tend to clog. Our process uses the ein gedi process, utilizing centrifugal misters that are not susceptible to clogging.
Microwave Pressure Cooker - The decreased cooking time required for foods cooked in a pressure cooker results in proportionally reduced consumption of energy. A pressure cooker is energy efficient and can save up to 70 % of the fuel used for cooking purposes. So we use a pressure cooker in our microwave to decrease power consumption and time cooking to its minimum.
Step 6: Command and Control Module
Command And Control Module
Computer - MSI GP60 (ram and HDD upgrade max.) laptop for data management, database, sensor monitoring, psychological wellness.
Software - labview software for monitoring all arduinos, sensors, and systems with monitoring capabilities (PSI)
Entertainment - Internet Access, Netflix media, Email, News, TV and Documents.
Lab View/ Ardunio/Sensor Interface - CO2, O2, Humidity, Temperature, Pressure, VOCs A sub-instructable on how you can do this can be found here.