Space-Ready Meals Made From Plastic Waste
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3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities for the aerospace industry. To curb the issue of food supply all the way to space, NASA, JAXA, the European Space Agency, and other organizations are working together on a project to develop food from plastic waste for astronauts.
At CES 2023, Interesting Engineering (IE) identified a cutting-edge bioreactor for in-space meals. The idea of using plastic waste and converting it into food has been brought up by Beehex, a company founded by NASA-affiliated entrepreneur and engineer Anja Contractor. The technology could be used to manage plastic waste and help to overcome the food crisis in some areas, such as refugee camps.
Key applications of innovative plastic-to-food conversion technology are in the food and aerospace industries.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
According to Anja Contractor, plastic waste is collected, shredded, and then fed into the bioreactor, where specifically engineered bacteria consume the plastic and convert it into biomass. The biomass could further be used to form various food products using 3D printing technology.
The machine is provided with different compartments, each having its unique role. The invention doesn’t disclose any specific types of plastics required for the process.
BENEFITS OF PLASTIC-TO-FOOD CONVERSION TECHNOLOGY
- A significant share of globally produced millions of tons of plastic waste can be effectively utilized.
- The technology, if commercialized, can be an excellent source of producing sustainable food.
- Through plastic waste utilization, this cutting-edge technology is a potent way of environment conservation.
- It is one of the cost-effective and expeditious food production technologies.
- The innovative technology meets the nutritional needs of astronauts.
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