DBowman

[1.2.2] Soylent - Life Support through Algae. [v0.06.1 2016.12.31 - big hellfire]

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ZsLS8sxh.png

closes the Life Support Cycle with two part types:

  • Solid and liquid waste is reduced to a Sterile Organic Slurry by a Super Critical Water Oxidation Unit.
  • Sterile Organic Slurry is fed to an algae based micro-biome, cultured in arrays of water filled polymer channels exposed to the sun - producing Oxygen, Food, and Water. It's a flat-pack greenhouse.

Soylent can be used stand alone as 'cosmetic' parts, or functioning with TAC Life Support.

The part size, mass, volume, and power demands try to be 'fairly realistic'. Quantity/volume of algae required is worked out on the basis of what is required for a 'man day' but not adjusted down to Kerbal size. The assumptions are based on continuous sunlight so if the craft will be experiencing periodic darkness you should scale up the number of Soylent arrays correspondingly. The Super Critical Water Oxidation is exothermic, it's basically a controlled liquid phase fire, so it has modest power demands for pumping and 'ignition'.

This system builds on the work of Evgenii Shepelev who in 1961 sealed himself in an iron casket with 8 gallons of green algae. Two kinds of Algae Array are provided; one reflecting optimistic assumptions, and the other mid range assumptions:

  • Solent Red reflects optimistic thinking on algal yield, purely by serendipity this worked out at one small solar array to support a Kerbal! or 11 Kerbals per Gigantor.
  • Soylent Green reflects more conservative thinking on algal yield, somewhere between best and worst case a Gigantor sized array will support a Kerbal.

 

TAC Life Support interoperation

If TACLS is present the parts will inter-operate to 'close the loop'. The resource conversions for 'a man' worth of algae are set to match TAC consumption and production rates. The parts will 'catch up' after being un-focused, for example flying other vehicles or warping in KSC. You need to ensure sufficient buffer resources since the TAC catch up is not perfect. I found the catch up lagged by up to four days, but YMMV, insufficient buffer will kill the crew. KSP doesn't really handle high warp electricity generation correctly so you need a battery buffer to max warp.

USI Life Support interoperation

If USI-LS is present the parts will inter-operate to 'close the loop'. The resource conversions for 'a man' worth of algae are set to match USI consumption and production rates. Soylent uses the native USI resource converters and acts like native USI 'greenhouses', it still requires Soylent Starter.

 

The Super Critical Water Oxidation Unit adds a 'sprinkle' of Soylent Starter (essential micro nutrients etc) to the Sterile Organic Slurry it produces. It's a tweakable resource, one part Soylent Starter will support the production of 1000 parts Food.

 

News

17 Jul 2015 mmmm - bacon

New algae strain - high protein, more nutritious than kale, tastes like bacon!

dulse_langdon_003sw.jpghttp://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2015/jul/osu-researchers-discover-unicorn-%E2%80%93-seaweed-tastes-bacon

 

 

7 Oct 2015 NASA loves Algae

NASA just announced the winners of a challenge they ran http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/na...independence-0

It was a three way win, one was: Pierre Blosse, from Urbandale, Iowa, for his entry: Starch from the Micro-Algae Chlorella as the Main Food Source for a Self-Sustaining Martian Colony.

Go Algae!!

 

12 Oct 2015 Soylent has been Modded

westamastaflash has kindly put together .cfgs for a TweakScalable Gigantor Green (2x = 4 Kerbals, 3x = 9 Kerbals LS) and a Large Processor Unit to handle the waste of up to 9 Kerbals (based on the Hitchhiker)

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=1731C32CC90F1274!649&authkey=!AL-1jKhqnuczTbU&ithint=folder%2ccfg

 

Dec 15 2015 NASA's Water Walls
NASA is funding research into using the water that is supporting an algae based life support system for radiation shielding link.

 

Oct 19 2016 re-invent agriculture with microbes
Lisa Dyson wants to re-invent agriculture on earth, kicked off by mid 1960s NASA research into using microbes for closed cycle life support - a TED talk

 

It's a joke right? I like realism, how seriously should I take this?

Although it's named for the fictional Soylent, the functionality is intended to be 'near future'.

I read that a company was starting to produce high protein food pellets for farmed Salmon from processed methane eating bacteria, at under USD 2.00 / kg (Methylococcus capsulatus). Naturally I thought - methane, Mars ISRU, food for Mars Astronauts!

Turns out people have been thinking about microbe based life support for a long time. Early experiments in the 1960's, NASA reports from the 1980s (84, 88 ) (including 'why not genetic engineering'), a large ongoing ESA research project MELiSSA). These are all proposing some mixed system of algae, bacteria, plankton, etc.

Who knows how close it is, but it seems like there are some compelling reasons to think it will pan out:

  • Earth's life support system has microbes as huge and critical component.
  • The lower down the food chain you eat the more efficient it is, and you cannot get any lower than microbes. Even if you don't stay right at the bottom it seems like a good place to start.
  • Greenhouses are fiddly, labor intensive, take a lot of space/mass, and don't play well with others (for example their equilibrium humidity is higher than humans and electronics like - not a killer but has to be managed).
  • We can manipulate microbe bio-mass by pumping water around, since it's all industrial and mechanical it can be automated and run remotely.

On the downside no one has got far enough with the production aspect to start worrying about the palatability aspect - but since people basically like fatty, sweet, and salty you can imagine a super centrifuging thermo mix machine that spits out various blends and textures of pellets, bars, and pastes.

2001_tablet-640x349-625x340.png

 

So Algae? not really, but Microbes surely.

Light, Distance, & Yield

The Soylent Algal Arrays use sunlight, the intensity falls off as the inverse square of the distance. Using Kerbin as 100% you get light intensity as % of Kerbin normal:

  • 38.98 % @ Duna
  • 08.46 % @ Dres
  • 04.00% @ Jool
  • 01.40% @ Eeloo

The photic zone on Earth goes down to 1% of surface intensity, below that intensity photosynthesis will not operate. But it looks pretty grim, at Jool you need 25 times the collection area to get as many photons as at Kerbin.

It turns out photosynthetic efficiency is linear with light intensity up to 10% of earth surface normal, after that it's 'saturated' and the extra light is not useful. So yield will ramp up from 0% to 100% as light goes from 1% to 10% of Earth surface normal. This gives the yield as a % of Kerbin normal:

  • 100% @ Duna
  • 86% @ Dres
  • 1/3 @ Jool
  • 4% @ Eeloo

So for Jool missions you should triple the 'nominal' Algal Array requirements. If you are on a surface with night and day, or in low orbit experiencing periods of darkness you should scale up accordingly. If you will be spending a fairly short time at each end of a trip with periodic darkness then you can just make sure you are a little over break even production and use your life support supply buffer to 'tide you over', usually there is plenty of time to catch up during transit - just make sure your waste buffer is large enough.

If you are playing in Real Solar System the yields work out as:

  • 100% @ Mars
  • 100% @ most of the asteroids
  • 38% @ Jupiter
  • 0% at Saturn - it's sitting right round 1% light intensity

I'd originally intended to have the arrays produce 'photons' for the Algae, however KSPs seemed to bork it under high warp and in any case does not model solar arrays for un-focused craft. Until I resolve this somehow, I have eliminated the photon dependency - just pretend it's there.

 

Requires

Module Manager

Kerbal Stuff: [Link removed by moderator, site dead]

Spacedoc: mod/355/Soylent

Change Log:

v 0.2 - add a radial attach container for Soylent Starter for large and / or very long term missions. Tested against 1.0.4 with TAC-LS, tested against 1.0.5 TAC-LS.

v 0.3 -

  1. Add USI-LS compatibility.
  2. Add UDA Agency, this makes stock filter by manufacturer work.
  3. Add a UDA flag.
  4. Fix Soylent Starter Container manufacturer.

v 0.3 - tested against TAC LS 0.12.4.0 in KSP 1.1.3 - looks okay, marked on spacedock.info

v 0.4 - fixed gigantor re-texture for red and green Soylent. Launched craft should update

v 0.5 - tested against KSP 1.2, changes to match TAC-LS 0.12.5 & USI-LS 0.5.3.0

v 0.6 Add 'Dark' grow-light parts that run on e. Community Category Kit compliance. Agency images fixes. Less threatening logo. :FOR[UDASoylent] so you could use :NEEDS[UDASoylent]. Tested against KSP, TAC, USI per v0.5.

v 0.06.1 Add SuperCritical Water Oxidation Unit Array from @String Witch tested with KSP 1.2.2, TAC-LS 0.12.7.0

 

Best Version For KSP Version:

KSP 1.1.3 use Soylent 0.4

KSP 1.2 use Soylent 0.6

KSP 1.2.2 USE Soylent 0.06.1

Edited by monstah
Kerbalstuff link removed

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Kolyent Green is KERBALS!

Looks intresting! is the loop 100% closed? Or is their some loss?

EDIT: nevermind read closer.. looks like Soylent starter is your limited resource... very intresting. :)

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Kolyent Green is KERBALS!

Oh my. OP are you willing to change the name of Mod?!?!?! This is epic :)

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looks like Soylent starter is your limited resource... very intresting. :)

Just don't ask what it's made of ...

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This looks awesome! :) Is there any way of producing the soylent starter, e.g from the stock ISRU or something like that?

Edited by Whizzkid

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This has got to be the most awesome thing I've seen here since Kerbal Foundries.

Almost as awesome as when I discovered you could turn a live Kerbal into Kethane by going to the suicide booth.

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Don't quite know how I feel about this mod. I mean I play with TACLS and this is pretty cool in that regard. I'm just afraid I'm going to hear this in my head every time I deploy the algae arrays.

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Hi DBowman,

As you know from the Real IRSU thread, I'm pretty fond of this mod, but I've run into my first snag. I have an outpost orbiting Duna that has just about enough Soylent Starter left in time to send a cargo run out from Kerbin, and I'm unsure of how to replenish it. I could very well be missing something here, but I've gone through the various containers I have and none of them can hold the starter. The only other solution I can think of is to send out another full Supercritical Water Oxidation Unit. If that's the intent for replenishing, then I can dock and transfer to the on-board units. I was wondering if you have any plans for adding a larger container for it for resupply runs, or maybe a slow-paced production of it in-situ as a byproduct of the system?

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jonrd463 - Sorry about that - I'd been thinking 'short term' not anticipating exhausting full SCWOUs. Also I'd been trying to minimise part bloat - but you are right I should add a container. In the meantime I guess you should proceed as you suggest, even though it's 'a bit wasteful'. I'll do this asap. The 'starter' is supposed to represent things like 'essential micro nutrients' and 'frozen spores etc' for if the culture 'goes bad' - so at least for now I'll stick with it being a limited resource.

btw are you using this in career? I was thinking to make sure the parts fit properly into a career tech tree.

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For replenishing the Soylent Starter, would you consider an MM cfg to add that as an ISRU resource product? (Effective only if TACLS is install as well, of course.) Maybe even have it so that you have to unlock that ability in the tech tree for the ISRU if in science/career mode. (I know MechJeb does feature-by-feature unlocking in science/career modes.)

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jonrd463 - Sorry about that - I'd been thinking 'short term' not anticipating exhausting full SCWOUs. Also I'd been trying to minimise part bloat - but you are right I should add a container. In the meantime I guess you should proceed as you suggest, even though it's 'a bit wasteful'. I'll do this asap. The 'starter' is supposed to represent things like 'essential micro nutrients' and 'frozen spores etc' for if the culture 'goes bad' - so at least for now I'll stick with it being a limited resource.

btw are you using this in career? I was thinking to make sure the parts fit properly into a career tech tree.

Thanks for the response. I did make a discovery after I posted that the amount of starter was tweakable. I was running on the default minimum value with one Oxidation unit on a station with 9 kerbals. If I had put multiple units with the max value of 10, I'd probably have plenty of starter for some time. Still, it might be useful to have a slow generation of starter, perhaps tied to a science lab and maybe another science experiment (Goo, perhaps?) that combines byproducts to form trace amounts of the starter over time. This, at least, would give it some degree of plausibility rather than have it just be a magic button.

I am using it in career, but I had most of the tree unlocked before adding the mod. For this career, I've been using returnable probes for deep space experiments, so life support hasn't been a huge necessity until late in the game. My stations, up until installing the mod, have been in low kerbin and munar orbits, and have been refilled once a kerbal year with cargo runs. Soylent is what allowed me to do my first manned Duna expedition and orbital outpost without lugging a supertanker's worth of LS supplies, and I can definitely appreciate the desire to keep part bloat down. Previously, I've had to send out LS barges ahead of the mission to refill on arrival in order to keep the expedition vessel manageable, but Soylent allows me to keep it all on board for the round trip.

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I'd been thinking it would take significant science equipment to make Starter. I probably should call out the tweakability in the Oxidation unit.

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Add a radial attach container for Soylent Starter for large and / or very long term missions.

Only folder UberDyneAstronautics\Soylent\StarterRadial added.

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A question though - does the algae production scale down with distance from the sun, the same with solar panels? (little return at Eeloo for example)

Hey - a great idea! I like the concept and your implementation. Have some rep!

I'm going to include this when my career finally leaves the Kerbin system for missions longer than a couple of Münar cycles. And as such it will get added to stage two of a particular project of mine.

Peace.

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theJesuit - For sure it should.

I'd originally had the arrays produce 'photons' rather than electricity and then used that to drive the algae, but KSP does not really handle the simulation properly for high warp or unfocused craft. It didn't seem right to kill peoples' crews due to that so I dropped the dependency. I did some research that I'll write up and add to the OP but here's the summary of how I think production should (i.e. by physics and biology) scale by orbital distance from the sun:

  • Duna and inward - full production per the parts.
  • Dres 86% production.
  • Jool 1/3 production
  • Eeloo 4% production - i.e. 25 arrays per Kerbal - ouch

Also note it doesn't simulate planetary (etc.) occlusion so 'adjust by hand' - double up for something that will low orbit a plant or be on the surface.

When I get some 'plugin fu' I plan to make the mod handle these issues.

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Added yield per distance from Kerbol / Sun to OP. You can stick to nominal for Duna and closer, for Jool triple up, for Eeloo ... 25 x :)

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Tested in 1.0.4 with TAC, all seemed fine. Updated KerbalStuff's compatibility version.

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Having a problem with a station in Ike orbit - i have grey water and waste tanks which are pretty full, a good power flow, and an active supercritical water oxidiser, but I'm not getting any organic slurry being produced. Am I missing an input?

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Small question, because it remains unclear for me : what are the differences between the Soylent Green and Red?

If there are no difference ingame, I could suggest that the differences between green and red algea will result in a trade-off between photosynthetic efficiency and time needed to convert the waste in usable resource.

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Having a problem with a station in Ike orbit - i have grey water and waste tanks which are pretty full, a good power flow, and an active supercritical water oxidiser, but I'm not getting any organic slurry being produced. Am I missing an input?

Sterile Organic Slurry needs only Waste Water, Waste, & electricity - so it sounds like you are not missing an input. Is it all producing O2, H2O, & food okay? Are the wastes building, or just 'steady but higher than I thought they'd be'?

The production is like a pipeline, if you algae array consumption of slurry outpaces the oxidiser unit's output you'd never see much slurry. You could try shutting down your arrays and warping a little to see if slurry builds up. I usually add an extra algae array and oxidiser unit so I can control which part of the pipeline dominates, this lets me 'catch up' after I've spent some days with the arrays folded while escaping an SOI / capturing at a planet.

- - - Updated - - -

Small question, because it remains unclear for me : what are the differences between the Soylent Green and Red?

If there are no difference ingame, I could suggest that the differences between green and red algea will result in a trade-off between photosynthetic efficiency and time needed to convert the waste in usable resource.

Red represents a system based on an optimistic view of micro-biome productivity; X liters of micro-biome to 'close the cycle'. Green represents a system based on more conservative view; about 10X liters of micro-biome required. Both Red and Green then use their required liters of micro-biome to drive the mass for water and structure to support it in the arrays.

I pulled the optimistic/realistic from various sources and I think the reasons underlying them are pretty much what you say plus differing opinions about how much of the resulting bio-mass is 'usable' as food. Apparently various kinds of algae have constituent parts that 'have undesirable effects on the digestive system', and tend to make more protein & fats than we'd want in a diet.

The idea is you just pick the one that suits your appetite for 'technical optimism', sort of an easy-mode / hard-mode choice.

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Any chance this will support the USI LS mod in the future?

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