Description, operation and production of the south pole food growth chamber

R. L. Patterson, G. A. Giacomelli, M. Kacira, P. D. Sadler, R. M. Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


The South Pole Food Growth Chamber (SPFGC) is an automated hydroponic climate controlled chamber located inside the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, which produces fresh vegetables and herbs, as well as a psychologically pleasurable environment for station personnel. The objective of this study was to document the SPFGC automated control practices, telepresence support, and resource utilization and crop production. Resource inputs included energy, water, plant nutrients, carbon dioxide, labor and the outputs included food, condensate water and oxygen. Data collected from January through October 2006 were used to evaluate the performance. Various plants (e.g. leafy greens, fruit crops, herbs and edible flowers) were grown within a hydroponic polyculture cropping system within the same controlled environment. Consumed resources included 1.1 kg d-1 of carbon dioxide, 0.21 kg d-1 of dry plant fertilizer salts, 1012 MJ d-1 (281 kWh d-1) of electrical energy, and production included 0.52 kg d-1 of oxygen and 2.8 kg d-1 of edible vegetables (fresh mass). The SPFGC system components and the control elements were described, and an energy balance analysis of the SPFGC was completed, and comparisons were made to various ALS food and oxygen production results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Advanced Technologies and Management Towards Sustainable Greenhouse Ecosystems
Subtitle of host publicationGreensys2011
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9789066053380
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


  • Controlled environment HID lamps
  • Hydroponic
  • Poly-culture
  • Telepresence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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