Phase 4

The combination of advanced biotechnological processes, together with the stringent requirements of a space mission, resulted in a number of innovative solutions, ranging from scientific knowledge to industrial applications.
Technology Transfer Programme
All together, there are over 100 projects underway in the Technology Transfer Programme.

With the support of the ESA transfer technology office, a few concrete examples of MELiSSA technology spin-offs deserve to be listed:


Resulting from the MELiSSA nitrifying compartment, a new bacterial support has been identified (BIOSTYR®) in collaboration with the company Veolia (F). More than a billion cubic metres of waste water are treated per day, in over 100 towns.
Biomass sensor
In order to quantify immobilised biomass (i.e. biotechnologies) and/or biomass within sludges, a new biomass sensor has been developed with the company NTE. The world leader of sparkling wine (Frexeinet) is using 20 of these sensors on line. The market has been estimated to be 1000 units per year.
Although considered in Phase 3, the grey and black water treatment units that will be implemented in the Concordia station, in Antarctica, are also an example of a technology transfer success story.


The overall objective of this project is to develop a novel concept of compact, high efficiency and cost-effective treatment for waste water recycling in textile finishing. The idea has been conceived within the framework of the European Space Agency Technology Transfer Program and builds on the application and further development of membrane-bioreactors (MBRs) used in Space Life Support Systems.

ELIRA (Epuration des LIsiers avec Recyclage et Alimentation)

In several European countries, such as Belgium, France nd The Netherlands, intensive animal breeding causes important problems for the environment. Moreover, current waste water plants are faced with important stocks of organic waste without the possiblility of deriving value from them. A process prototype (ELIRA), which is based on the first two compartments of the MELiSSA loop, has been proposed as a technological transfer to the environmental industry. A patent has been granted for Europe and USA ("Process and equipment for organic waste treatment and application of the process" patent 9602131, ESA, 21/2/96).
Through IPStarBV, MELiSSA technologies are commercialized for an exclusive range of industrial customers in the area of sustainability and health. IPStarBV is the MELiSSA spin-off company hosted by the Incubator (ESI) of European Space Agency at Noordwijk in The Netherlands. IPStar was created on request of - and subsidized by - the European Space Agency.

IPStarBV actively adds value to and develops new businesses based on the following fields of expertise: business development, technology transfer, venture start up, spin in and spin out, related corporate finance and legal support activities vested in the experience of its management and its network of partners and professionals.
Last update: 22 November 2007

In depth

 •  Wastewater treatment plants (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Melissa/SEMR7K8RR1F_0.html)
 •  MELiSSA and the wine industry (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Melissa/SEMABK8RR1F_0.html)
 •  MELiSSA at Concordia (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Melissa/SEMLSJ8RR1F_0.html)

Related links

 •  ipstar (http://www.ipstar.nl)