In phase 1, each compartment of the loop is analysed separately and approached as a chemical process. The mass balance is mathematically described and is validated with experimental results from batch and continuous cultures. The overall MELiSSA loop is then simulated at a static level, with respect to the mass balance and at a dynamic level, in respect to its kinetics.
So far, the six major chemical elements (C, H, N, O, S, P), in terms of mass, are taken into account, although elements of lower mass (Na, K, Mg, …) will be progressively investigated as well.
After 14 years of research, the feasibility of each of the MELiSSA compartments has been demonstrated. Today, based on the results obtained, an over 70% recycling feasibility has been shown by simulation. Higher recycling values will clearly depend on many parameters: interface with other subsystems, mission configuration, as well as psychological impacts (diet quality).
Several studies are also being performed to consider other biological processes and/or complementary technologies (pathogen detection, genetic evolution, new sensors, …), namely Engineering of the Waste Compartment and Total Conversion and Biosafe study.
Phase 1 is mainly funded through the Technology Research Programme, General Support Technology Programme and national budgets.
Last update: 19 November 2007