CELSS technology has a long way to go. To date, no one has successfully developed a true CELSS instance, but there have been attempts. These prototypes (or proto-CELSS) have been instructive to the CELSS community and are the forebearers of true CELSS. A list of notable protoCELSS experiments:
|Name||Start Date||End Date||Location||Crops||Strengths||Weaknesses||Lessons|
|Paul Holowko BioSpheres||2010||Ongoing||San Jose, CA||Borage, Maidenhair fern, sand crabs, zooplankton, phytoplankton||Completely closed. Well instrumented. Reports a repeatable recipe to create a stable system including an animal foodchain.||System not large enough for mammals.||Marine (i.e. saltwater) habitat necessary for cyanobacterial O2 production.|
|Biotron Biomes||Ontario||The Biomes are designed to allow multi-disciplinary teams to create and simulate integrated ecosystems including plants, insects, soil microbes, fungae, and algae.||6 large (6.0 m x 3.4 m x 4.3 m) custom-designed, environmentally controlled Biomes with enhanced Level 2 containment, completely sealed units. The Biomes are constructed using glass walls allowing natural sunlight to pass through; shading systems can be activated to control levels of sunlight. Each biome is equipped with a rain simulator, two irrigation zones, soil temperature probes, HPS lighting, PAR light sensors, sunshades, and a fogging system.||The chambers are equipped with artificial lighting and an array of micro-sensors and computer systems to enable strict analysis and control over factors such as CO2, temperature, UV radiation, light intensity, wind, and precipitation.||The Biomes allow researchers working at the molecular level to scale up experiments to the mini-ecosystem level. They also allow ecologists to scale down experiments performed under variable field conditions to environmentally controlled conditions. Thus, the Biomes allow researchers to design and simulate pertinent environmental scenarios in order to assess the impact of an array of environmental factors on organisms, including accelerated climate change scenarios, plant-soil-insect-microbe interactions, and biorisk assessment of emerging technologies and pollutants.|
|BIOS-3||1972||1984||Krasnoyarsk, Siberia||Wheat, vegetables, algae||Chlorella algae were used to recycle air breathed by humans,cultivated in stacked tanks under artificial light.||Twenty 6 kW water cooled xenon lamps supplied a level of light comparable to sunlight in each of the 4 compartments. The facility used 400 kW of electricity.||Each human needed 8 m2 of exposed Chlorella. Air was purified of more complex organic compounds by heating to 600ÃâÃÂ°C in the presence of a catalyst.|
|Mars Base Zero||1999||Fairbanks, Alaska||Beets, Bush Beans, Cabbage, Carrot, Onion, Lettuce, Parsley, Potato, Swiss Chard, Tomato, Turnip 2 290 98 n 0||Mostly an experiment in high latitude food production.||Not airtight.|
|NASA BioHome||1989||Ongoing||Tomatoes, sorghum, corn, potatoes, cucumbers and squash.||Drinkable water was taken from air condensate. Wastewater treatment was main focus using inedible aquatic/semi-aquatic plants to process sewage. These plants were used as compost material for food plants.||Unit not airtight.|
|Biosphere 2||1987||1994||Oracle, AZ||Bananas, papayas, sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, lablab and cowpea beans, rice, and wheat.|
5 goats, 38 chickens, 3 pigs, tilapia
|Largest closed system ever created, contained 5 wild biomes plus agricultural area and human hab.||Required huge air conditioners to control temperature, utilizing 3 times the energy received in insolation.|
Oxygen began at air normal (20.9%), dropped to 14.5% over 16 months. System was boosted with external oxygen at 16 and 23 months.
|Daily CO2 fluctuation was typically 600 ppm due to plant photosynthesis/respiration.|
CO2 reacted with exposed concrete to form CaCO3, sequestering the carbon dioxide and, as part of it, the oxygen that had disappeared.