Sign In

Water and Nutrient Delivery System

In TIME SCALE, researchers from Wageningen University & Research develop a Water and Nutrient Delivery System to provide required nutrients to plants growing in a hydroponic system designed for space.

The chair group Horticultural Production Chains is part of the Plant Sciences Group of Wageningen University & Research. It is the only academic group focused on horticulture in the Netherlands and holds a strong position in horticultural research and education. Their research and education focuses on plant physiology and product quality in horticulture, particularly in greenhouses and growth chambers.

Improving the EMCS by developing Water and Nutrient Delivery System

The TIME SCALE project aims at improving the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) onboard the International Space Station, both for allowing next-generation life science research in space and for technology demonstrations related to regenerative life support systems beyond today’s Space Station. At Wageningen University and Research, researchers are developing a Water and Nutrient Delivery System as part of a Crop Cultivation System of the EMCS.


The water and nutrient delivery system is based on a true hydroponic system. In such a system there is no soil; the roots of the plants are in direct contact with a mix of water, air and nutrients that is continuously recirculated through the system. This solution is chosen to secure a continuous supply of key nutrients to the plants - in the right ratio and throughout the life cycle of the plants. For space applpications, such a system must work at different gravitational conditions, including micro-gravity and Martian and Lunar gravity.

Read more about monitoring nutrient levels in the TIME SCALE project through cooperation with GleanGrow.

Water at micro-gravity

As an illustration to the challenges of handling water under reduced gravitational conditions, astronaut Chris Hadfield has demonstrated wringing out a wet cloth onboard the International Space Station.