Characterizing Crop-Waste Loads for Solid-Waste Processing 2007-01-3187
In long-duration, closed human habitats in space that include crop growth, one challenge that is faced while designing a candidate waste processor is the composition of solid-waste loads, which include human waste, packaging and food-processing materials, crop spoilage, and plant residues. In this work, a new modeling tool is developed to characterize crop residues and food wastes based on diet in order to support the design of solid-waste technologies for closed systems. The model predicts amounts of crop residues and food wastes due to food processing, crop harvests, and edible spoilage. To support the design of solid-waste technologies, the generation of crop residues and food wastes was characterized for a 600-day mission to Mars using integrated menu, crop, and waste models. The three sources of plant residues and food waste are identified to be food processors, crop harvests, and edible spoilage. Of these waste streams, the largest generator was crop harvests, especially vines and leaves of sweet potato, which accounted for over 60% of solid waste by mass.