Available drinks include coffee, tea, orange juice, fruit punches and lemonade.
'In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air,' said lead researcher Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, principal scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.'In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine.'One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein.' Along with food, the researchers are developing the protein to be used as animal feed.
An oven is provided in the space station to heat foods to the proper temperature.
There are no refrigerators in space, so space food must be stored and prepared properly to avoid spoilage, especially on longer missions.
Only the required amount of fertiliser-like nutrients is used in the closed process.'This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases.' The process of creating food from electricity can be nearly 10 times as energy-efficient as common photosynthesis, the process plants use to create their 'food'.
For the product to be competitive, the production process must become even more efficient.