©DLR. Closing local nutrient cycles on Earth. When human excreta are processed to produce fertiliser, it can be used in urban farms.
The building of the former wind tunnel at DLR in Cologne is being put to a new use. A reality lab is being created in which sustainable recycling technologies developed at DLR for space travel can be tested in practical use. The first step will be a C.R.O.P.® pilot plant in which urine from a separating toilet in the office building will be processed into fertiliser. A modern greenhouse will be connected to the pilot plant which will utilise the produced fertiliser and provide fresh food for the staff. In this way, the researchers will become part of the pilot plant and will be able to experience how the technologies they develop intervene in people's everyday lives. A newly established Aeromedical FabLab will support the development of sensors and automation processes for the pilot plant. In the future, the entire building is to become climate-neutral through the use of regenerative energies.
The architecture of the former wind tunnel combines an office building with a concrete structure reminiscent of a space station. Thus, the building also symbolises externally the connection between the development of material cycles for life support systems in space travel and the development of sustainable buildings on Earth.