The information below was hidden by a software glitch - so I repost it now as a resource - however this historic material and context is no longer applicable and the current team and efforts to mobilize in this direction are with PODNet - with global leadership by the Icelandic POD Pioneers
December 25, 2009, at 03:45 PM by Sola Roof Guy - Added lines 1-353:
BIOTECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING
AUTHORED BY Richard Nelson for Life Synthesis
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
CE Agri is a Life Synthesis biotechnology under development by Life Synthesis, which is a global network of cooperative businesses collaborating to build a sustainable future. CE Agri will be developed as an Open Source technology through the work of pre competitive research and development FEED Collaborative? and this proposal has the goal of establishing a Norway/EU Consortium that would work in association with SINTEF, the National science and technology agency of Norway. Together with the FEED Collaborative?, Life Synthesis propose to receive support from government programs for CO 2? abatement that would provide funding contributions in support of our program to develop the CE Agri Process and for establishing Pilot Plants in Norway, the UK, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Ghana, Spain and the USA that will lead to commercialization of the process.
CE Agri is a comprehensive solution to the problem of Climate Change and Global Warming since it addresses all relevant renewable energy supply issues connected with production, cost and land availability factors and our approach has a proven capacity that is further enhanced by our Open Source methods. The prospect, which is quite realistic, is to enable the production of liquid and gaseous Bio Fuel? in sufficient quantity to replace the present rate of all fossil fuel consumption and to expand current levels of supply in pace with population growth and development of the global economy that will allow prosperity for all. At the time that Biofuel production is able to provide all energy supply expansion, then the draw down and combustion of fossil fuel reserves will come to an end and as the production of Bio Fuel? increases further to meet most primary energy demand then the accumulation of CO 2? due to combustion of fossil fuels will stop. The next phase is the production of Bio Fuel? at a rate that is surplus to energy needs, so that CO 2? concentration in the atmosphere will stabilize and even be reduced.
Richard Nelson, inventor and founder of the Life Synthesis Network
Mr. Nelson will apply his extensive and advanced knowledge of transparent building cladding systems, structures and processes for energy efficient controlled environment systems to the work of coordinating a private sector business team with excellent backgrounds in building innovations and commercialization of building technology. Nelson has invited a special group with compatible and complementary business operations to be members of the CE Agri Consortia, which will supply both technical and financial support to the pre competitive development work leading to commercialization of the CE Agri technology:
- SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing, NCE Raufoss, Norway
- Todd Ecological?, USA
- Life Synthesis Manufacturing, Kuching, Malaysia
- Lim Shrimp Organization, Singapore/Shanghai, China
- maxfordham, London, UK
- Schumacher College, Dartington, UK
Dr. Saffa Riffat, Head of the School of the Built Environment at Nottingham University
Dr. Riffat will lead the pre competitive development activities from his base at the SBE at Nottingham University. The SBE will assign scientific and technical staff to the pre competitive activities, which include two small scale Proof of Concept Projects and production of a Proposal for Pilot Plant Funding to be submitted for support to EU funding agencies. The SBE will draw on its depth of scientific and technical expertise in controlled environment and ecological architecture to implement well targeted investigations with the purpose of achieving dramatic breakthrough in building concepts and building envelope integrated control systems for transparent structures.
Dr. Riffat will coordinate the collaborative work of other Universities and of government and private institutions and agencies. With the purpose of addressing the issues of freshwater supply and development of renewable energy resources in the Gulf Region, Dr Riffat will engage with University partners in the Gulf States region, Malaysia and the USA
- University of Oslo
- University, Oman
- University, Malaysia
- Cornell University, CEA Institute, New York, USA
- SINTEF, Norway
- Hort Link?, UK
- Carbon Trust
- Ministry of Science and Technology & Innovation, Malaysia
CE Agri is an efficient and sustainable technology for producing renewable resources through biotechnology; especially:
CE Agri is a closed, enriched CO 2? atmosphere, controlled environment crop production system. As such, our process utilizes proven but not mainstreamed innovations based upon the Sola Roof concepts to establish an energy efficient process for maintaining the temperature, humidity and other factors for optimum crop production within the required specification.
Existing greenhouse technology operations suffer from an extreme tendency to overheat in the hot climates or summer season due to a lack of radiative energy control over the glazing and conversely in cold climates and during the extreme winter conditions the prior technology has very limited capability to provide sufficient insulation to prevent extreme heat loss and therefore production may be required to shut down during mid winter or, if not, then the result is a very high heating cost.
Our solution to this recognized problem is the provision of low cost and efficient climate control process, which uses the Liquid Solar Controlled Environment process, which includes dynamic Liquid Bubble Technology for heating and cooling of buildings constructed with a highly transparent multiple skin envelopes. These methods, which have been invented by Mr. Nelson and proven by the Sola Roof community in various field test projects in the USA and Canada and the Far East, have not yet been commercially utilized in the UK or in any other place in Europe. The enhanced and Open Source Life Synthesis methods are based upon the Open Source Sola Roof method, which is an order of magnitude improvement (ten times reduction in heating and cooling loads) over any state of the art methods for greenhouse heating and cooling in Holland or any other advanced countries.
However, not only is our technology a minimal consumer of energy for heating and cooling, but the CE Agri process is a significant producer of renewable energy in the form of Biofuel, which includes the following possible sustainable energy products: Ethanol from starch, Methane from plant biomass, Bio Diesel? produced from vegetable oil from Mass Algae Culture. The operations require only 2 to 3% of the energy produced, which is expected to be as high as 400 Kw per M 2 per annum in the high sunlight regions (say: 6 Kw/day/M2).
The CE Agri process can produce multiple fuels and crops while also housing fish farming and livestock, which means that a project can generate several income streams while the incremental cost of each process is reduced due to the integration of the optional systems. Thus the overall investment will achieve a remarkably high profitability.
NOVEL AND MORE EFFICIENT CROP PRODUCTION
CE Agri is designed as a balanced Ecological Life Support process that can be configured to produce any kind of food, feed or fiber needs by growing higher plants with a floating raft production while concurrently producing the Algae harvest as a primary energy crop. Since the food crops will also produce pure transpired water and described above, then it is possible to supply an abundance of the essential resources for communities to be self reliant and have a secure and sustainable supply of water, food and energy and a surplus for trade and a prosperous economy. Therefore, where food is now a limiting factor, then the CE Agri projects can be operated to produce abundant food. Every CE Agri installation will continuously produce a large resource of biological nutrients, which is the byproduct of harvesting oil from algae. There is no limiting factor on productivity other than the specific solar energy potential of a site.
For example, large scale shallow pond hydroponic growing has produced a consistent yield of 500 heads of lettuce per square meter per year. Hydroponic production of potatoes has produced 200 metric tones per hectare per year. The CE Agri methods will produce a vast increase of yield of various crops over the best results that are achieved today. This can be done even while reducing the operating costs of production. Only our costs for computer monitoring and automation are higher than typical, while other capital costs are in line with the most competitive greenhouse structures.
Most of the downstream biotechnology industry is dependent on finding sufficient supplies of natural source feedstock as an input to the various high value extraction industries. Currently, most consumer product industries such as the food, drink, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, nutriceutical and vitamin/supplement manufacturers have difficulty sourcing sufficient steady supply natural plant material of high quality and purity. In every category of industry (for example industrial oils, emulsions, paints and inks) demand exceeds the supply of natural source products. Thus our controlled environment technology system, CE Agri, is the answer to the present supply shortfall. With production that is year around and yield that can exceed field production or current greenhouse production by an order of magnitude (in some cases producing more than 50 times the yield as is possible with field crops) we have the key to the development of the entire biotechnology sector.
The further advantage of the flotation crop production method is the use of robotic harvesting of the biomass. The aquatic plants (grown as biomass for feed, biotechnology extracts and energy production) are harvested by roaming robots, while the high value food crops are moved with conveyor mechanisms to the point of harvest and replanting. All of our Open Source crop production systems are continuous operations with no down time and a constant rate of harvest and replanting. We have three energy crops that produce an order of magnitude more biofuel per area of production than the previously known field crops:
Oil Production from Mass Algae Culture for Bio Diesel? plus another energy crop:
This continuous, all season production is the most important factor for successful marketing since we can contract for a constant supply of produce for any market or customer, where our volume and quality of supply is assured and is not interrupted due to seasonal heat or cold. This also produces the highest rates of utilization of investment and increases the profitability over other suppliers that have shut down periods. Such continuous production is also a key to developing a stable and skilled work force for the biotechnology sector.
CE Agri provides many production options for growing food, cut flowers, feed, fiber, plant biomass, mass cell cultures, mass algae culture, micro propagation, plugs and transplants and potted plants for the horticulture industry. The automated hydroponic systems can be set up for deep and shallow ponds as well as ebb and flow and aeroponic growing.
EFFICIENT, ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE AND SUSTAINABLE
Land quality and soil conditions do not limit the selection of sites for CE Agri projects. We can operate on saline sites and use brackish water. We can operate directly from seawater and produce freshwater. Since there is a zero consumption of fresh water the systems operating on seawater and brackish water (or waste water) will supply the freshwater requirements and once these are met then there is a continuous surplus of pure water, which is produced continuously and can be exported at a rate of 10 liters per square meter per day in regions with bright sunshine. Systems can be optimally designed for production of freshwater from seawater or they may treat the pure water production as a bi-product of operations that are focused on plant biomass and Oil from Algae biomass. Additionally, plant biomass can be optimized for specific crops, which are not easily grown in that particular location or time and therefore have a high value. Targeting specific high value food or biochemical, biomedical or other biotechnology crops will sometimes reduce other side benefits of the CE Agri process.
There are vast areas of arid land and land depleted or lost to salination due to conventional agricultural practices that also have high sunlight value and proximity to ocean cold water resources in many regions, such as the Gulf States, South Africa, North Africa and southern California are examples of sites with cold coastal waters and abundant sunshine that provides opportunities for large scale CE Agri projects. The Life Synthesis program will include the rehabilitation and restoration of land to prior fertile and healthy condition. There are no negative environmental consequences of using the CE Agri technology and the operations are sustainable for the foreseeable future. The net present value of the energy system is many multiples of the embodied energy, which is break-even within one year on a Bio Fuel? production basis but is much sooner when considering total energy utilization, including freshwater production.
Our building system is so lightweight, portable, reusable and recyclable that, in itself this represents a breakthrough in the building sector, whose environmental impact now accounts for about half of all CO 2? creation. The weight reduction, which is from 10 to 100 times lighter than other roof and building envelope systems, can enable users to meet goals for reduction of Global Warming by reduction of CO 2? creation connected with the embodied energy of buildings. Also, since our technology is hydrocarbon based but CO 2? neutral we offer an easy transition from fossil oil to renewable oil (from algae) that is produced by the CE Agri process. Therefore it is possible to have sustainable expansion of energy use in economies where populations are growing and standards of living also need to improve. In fact our operations are environmentally beneficial; so that our technology has a negative environmental footprint and the more area of projects we create the greater is the benefit to the planetary ecology.
PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL
The ideal of a totally enclosed and controlled environment system is the avoidance of natural pests and disease vectors. No other large scale system exists that can operate with this advantage due to the fact that CE Agri is the only process permits the very low energy control of climate within the growing space without any need for ventilation. Therefore the interior atmosphere is completely controlled and managed to promote completely pest and disease free conditions. This is achieved through the action of UV, which is able to enter the growing space, and the circulation and filtration of water and air on a continuous basis. Entrance into the facility is managed carefully and entering some areas would require sterile procedures and clothing. Robotic automation is another strategy to maintain pure cultures. Hepa filters can be used because there is no external ventilation required and therefore there will be no gross particulates in the controlled atmosphere. Air change can be as slow as one volume per day.
INTEGRATED CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (ICMS)
Prevention of biological vectors from entering the system is the first priority, however to the extent that problems may still arise we are able to introduce natural biological controls and intentional use of beneficial insects (for pollination) and other agents are more easily managed since they will not be able to exit the greenhouse environment. The atmosphere in the crop growing space is maintained at a regulated temperature and humidity and the avoidance of elevated humidity conditions is another advantage of the CE Agri process.
An additional degree of protection from harmful vectors is the use of sterile feedstock and using plantlets that we will produce in-house using sterile, disease free micro propagation techniques. The work and production space will be arranged in zones of increasing isolation so that the most sensitive stages of production are protected whereas the last stages of growing that take a larger area and are connected with the harvesting, packaging and shipping zones are permitted more access.
CE Agri pest and disease control systems, which integrate the use of a range of advanced technologies, are designed to optimize inputs in order to maintain product quality and enhance the environment. These technologies include selective breeding and micro propagation to increase plant resistance, the use of biological control agents, behavior- and physiology- modifying natural agents (such as scents), bio-pesticides with novel modes of action and novel application methods, diagnostic kits for virus diseases, and key quality factors in pre- and post- harvest produce, sensitive monitoring and forecasting systems for insect pests and diseases, and methods for determining and predicting plant requirements.
TECHNOLOGIES TO ENSURE THE AVAILABILITY OF QUALITY PRODUCE AT TIMES REQUIRED BY THE MARKET
The reliable availability of produce is very important to the large supermarkets that now dominate the retail market. The great majority of the ever-increasing year-round demand for both edible and ornamental produce of a high quality is satisfied by imports, since the local producers are shut down for part of the year. CE Agri will avoid such shut downs and will tend to localize the food supplies of all types.
Studies will include methods for increasing the market share of CE Agri produce include:
- understanding the causes of seasonal and other variation in product quality
- modeling the supply chain
- understanding weather and climatic patterns on supply and distribution planning
CE Agri technology will enable extension of the seasonal supply of high quality produce by:
- manipulating factors, such as plant acclimatisation to our controlled environment; including: quality and duration of light, temperature, and ambient gaseous mixtures
- improving harvest, storage and shipping and point of sale technology
- incorporating the best quality traits into varieties which perform well under local conditions
CROPS TARGETED TO PROVIDE NOVEL OR IMPROVED FOOD PRODUCTS (INCLUDING PROTECTIVE AND BENEFICIAL COMPONENTS OF DIET)
Plant production will be studied for the identification of features at the cellular or molecular levels, which determine qualities of horticultural produce required by the processor and consumer - and strategies for the enhancement of these features. Our processes include the mass cell culture of specific plant cell types that are responsible for producing desired secondary metabolites, including flavors and scents, color and texture, pharmaceutical and nutritional, health and wellness food and drink additives and supplements.
REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT OF WASTE IN PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING
EXPLOITING GENOMICS FOR IMPROVING HORTICULTURAL CROP QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY
Genomics based technologies and the data arising from the genome sequencing will facilitate the definition of quality traits and crop improvement. The CE Agri program would encourage applications that exploit advances in these areas (such as the development of marker genes or quantitative selection criteria) in horticultural production. This priority also clearly impacts on a number of those others listed above. CE Agri programs and production operations follow the cautionary principle and will never utilize or work on Genetically Modified forms of life since they are not proven safe and all of our goals for excellence in growing and serving humanity can be achieved without engaging in potentially dangerous practices.
The CE Agri near-term objectives will be fully demonstrated by our Pilot Plant project:
- Produce freshwater from seawater, brackish or waste water, using Solar Energy
- Produce Biomass for conversion to Bio Fuel?, including Oil from Algae
- Offer improved greenhouse technology for the sustainability of the horticulture industry
- Improve knowledge and understanding of processes and factors which determine the performance of the horticulture industry
- Enable access by the horticulture industry to innovative ideas and technology by teaming our business consortia with a global group of research institutes and university departments
- Through the Life Synthesis Network we will promote wider awareness of the benefits of advanced horticultural techniques/ methods especially to SME's.
PROBLEM STATEMENT AND TECHNICAL APPROACH
The truth about Agriculture: it is petrochemical dependent!
Food, feed and fiber crops are already exhausting the land and converting much of it into desert worldwide. For the sake of the economics we no longer use crop rotations. Year after year chemical fertilizers are used to supply the nitrogen that the higher plants cannot make for themselves. Organic mater in the soil is "burned out" and the soil structure is destroyed. Mono crops destroy the ecology and result in a massive wave of extinctions through loss of habitat.
THE SOLUTION: CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE
The Protected Agriculture market is very significant and growing sector of the agricultural industry. Currently, there is limited capability of the shelter products that are available to offer adequate shelter from extreme climatic conditions, and therefore they do not provide complete enclosure or year around climate control. One large application is concerned with shading and protection from extreme heat -- for which purpose shade cloths and nets are utilized. Another large sector is concerned with frost protection and extended out of season production in the cold season -- for which purpose crops are produced under light plastic greenhouses or movable membrane curtains that close over the crop at night. Moveable curtain systems are used so that the cover may be gathered horizontally in order to open the covering material during the day; avoiding overheating and permitting more sunlight to reach the crop below. All of these technologies allow protected crop production to continue when conventional field production must cease due to the severity of the climate. Such out of season production allow the grower to supply a locally produced crop delivered early or late season crop that will fetch a premium price.
Sheltered agriculture serves multiple proposes:
1. Protected Agriculture, including shade and net structures and moveable curtain systems for ornamental nurseries, fruit orchards, high value field crops and forestry nurseries
2. Plastic Greenhouse applications, including low-cost enclosures enable enhanced productivity growing high value food and horticultural products during extended seasons, at locations that are close to the consumer.
3. Retrofit Applications including secondary shelters may be built over the exterior of existing greenhouses, warehouses or other large roof areas needing an upgrade of their insulation and heating and/or shading systems.
The CE Agri strategic goal is to focus on the opportunity to lead the biotechnology sector and provide the ULTIMATE production technology for key biotechnology applications. This means that our technology will produce pure cultures and top quality plants and plant products (extracts) as are demanded by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, health food and drink industries that seek to supply products that are based on natural ingredients for health and wellness. These industries need a large volume of supply of pure, high quality plant products that are produced continuously and cost effectively. Such conditions and requirements cannot be met by field production or existing greenhouse methods.
More specifically, the CE Agri Development Consortia will target the use of our CE Apps production systems for two important operational bi-products, which are the production of FRESHWATER and BIOFUEL. Both of these processes are integrated with our CE Agri facilities and they will, in themselves, generate a strong return on investment and so off-set the investment cost of a completely enclosed, closed atmosphere growing system. CE Agri technology has some similarity to prior greenhouse technology and our facilities can grow food and horticulture crops that are currently produced by the greenhouse sector. However no greenhouse products, even the best equipped from leaders like Holland, can serve the needs of the biotechnology industry as can the CE Agri product.
CE Agri TECHNOLOY: How does it work?
The CE Agri process and structure is a Open Source technology that offers significant cost savings and engineering advantage over the state-of-the-art arched frames and tunnel type structures that are typically used to carry the plastic film crop covers. Our structure makes good use of the tensile strength of woven and laminated films or coated fabrics.
The Retrofit Applications would employ the same product system as used for the Protected Agriculture applications mentioned above. Essentially, the CE Agri system is installed over the conventional roof system. The CE Agri pole structures erected between rows of tunnel greenhouses or over row crops or nursery beds. The exterior skin is hung above the existing structures so that there is no interference from the conventional structures, which are thereby enclosed with a continuous cavity space that can be insulated with the Bubble Tech? system. Since the liquid bubble insulation both have such very low dead weight this system can be used without increasing the engineering specifications for the existing roof system. The retrofit also provides a shading system. Using the liquid bubble shading system also provides cooling and reduces the rate of ventilation required to prevent over heating.
CE Agri for New Construction is proposed for development and investigation to take place at NCE Raufoss, Norway. The first, investigative stage of our research and development will use simple and reliable specifications for the structure since we would like to minimize unknown factors so that the fundamental innovative concepts can be proven. The cover material would comprise a set of prefabricated, modular roof panel sections that lay flat and are delivered as small volume packages. Along the center line the material is sealed, which creates a double layer cover and forms a cavity space extending on both sides of the center line of the Column rows. The cover system is formed of multiple sets of these double skin modular panels, which for the Proof of Concept project will be a standard 6 M width but only 20 M in length, while, in full scale projects the panels would be 100 to 200 meters in length.
Whenever our lightweight structure is used in regions with high snow fall, a snow melting process must be utilized to melt snow as it falls on the roof system so that there is a limited accumulation of snow on the film or membrane roof cover. The melt water is then drained through the gutter system as is rainfall. Backup systems and emergency power must be provided to ensure that the snow melting process will be reliable and available at any time that it might be needed. As a further fail-safe, if heavy snows load accumulates over the CE Agri roof, then connection at the gutter may be designed to give away so that the snow may fall through and thereby avoiding any damage to either the stressed skin or the structure. Of course in localities where snow accumulation will never occur, such as the tropics, sub tropics and arid deserts such features need not be incorporated into the gutter design.
The structural members supporting the stressed-panel roof system are a system of deep open web joists, which span the building bays of the structure. They are attached to the column by bolted connection provide a means to disassemble the structure if it might be necessary to relocate the project or reuse the components. The bottom chord member column connection resists the upward lift of wind forces that may occur due to the action of high wind velocity over exterior skin. The gutter system is held by skin tension at the mid span of the stressed skin and follows a general roof slope is given for drainage along the rain gutter and along the base chord member from column to column provides the soap liquid (or cooling liquid) gutter with sufficient slope to insure the proper drainage of soap liquid, cooling water from the stressed-panel roof system. Generally, the building bay width (10 M typical) is provided by the free span of the joist assembly. One long modular roof cover panel (100 to 200 M typical) may span across a few bays. On the other hand the rain water and cooling water drain connections are generally at the column rows and thus the distance between these drainage outlets is the same as the building bay width.
The interior skin extends from the mid-span gutter connection to the interior base chord member. Cooling water may also be sprayed and distributed by nozzles located within the cavity space onto the interior skin and must drain from the cavity space along the base member to the lowest elevation, which is at the column connection. These drainage mechanisms let the cooling water and/or rain water to drain quickly at the column rows where collector pipes will catch the liquids coming down from each stressed skin panel module and brings the rainwater to a cistern and the soap liquid or cooling/chilling liquid to the liquid thermal mass reservoir.
The roof cavity is normally at sub atmospheric pressure and is either filled with bubbles when shading or insulating is required, or is simply filled with air for transmission of maximum sunlight through the modular roof panel system. The complete Sola Roof system performance is obtained by installing the inner liner sheet for separation of the water cooling and bubble systems.The CE Agri system can be utilized to create very low-cost large area controlled environments as an alternative to conventional greenhouse construction. If used in snow load zones, it is assumed that the snow melting process which may be incorporated for snow melting as quickly it lands on the modular cover.
We can anticipate that the development of CE Agri will itself be a task that should quickly move ahead toward a successful conclusion. Indeed, the CE Agri processes and structure are suited to very large volume production and constitute the key component of this modular product system. Additionally, other structural issues and attachment methods appear also to be straightforward and we may have a good level of confidence in regard to solving these details rapidly and effectively.
CE Agri TECHNOLOGY: What are the Benefits?
Freshwater Crisis: Plants Produce Abundant Pure Water
Living plants have a wonderful phytomechanism called transpiration that assures that plants will not overheat in the sun. The plant leaf canopy as a living system has the power to remain at a steady cool temperature of about 22 to 24 C even in bright sunlight and no mater how hot the surrounding air and environment. This capacity of a living leaf canopy to reject solar thermal energy is based on two conditions: a supply of water to the plants and an atmosphere that is not saturated with humidity.
This power of plants to produce water vapor from solar energy was not truly appreciated until NASA investigations into Closed Ecological Life Support Systems discovered this ideal biotechnology system to support long term space missions by using closed atmosphere, Controlled Environment Agriculture systems. Therefore in our CE Agri process we rely on the transpiration process to provide the cooling mechanism for the removal of solar thermal gain from our plant growing environment. This is accomplished by the Sola Roof liquid cooling process which maintains the inner skin of the transparent cover at the desired dew point temperature. This causes condensation of transpiration by the inner cool skin and thus removes the moisture produced by plants. The vapor condenses, forming a film of water on the inside surface which flows by gravity to a condensation collection gutter for use as pure, freshwater. Since the CE Agri is a closed atmosphere system we need to remove moisture continuously from the controlled environment at a rate that is in balance with the rate of transpiration generated by the plant leaf canopy.
In summary, for a very small energy cost connected with chilling the inner skin of the CE Agri structure using cold water resources, which include ground water and deep lake or seawater, or closed system chilled water, the CE Agri process is enabled to grow plants for energy biomass and/or operate a mass algae culture process which is integral with the operation of the plant growing system. This system continuously produces 10 times the energy consumed in operations and produces a large volume of pure freshwater by transpiration, which is a bi-product of the cooling the closed atmosphere liquid cooling. 100 square meters of CE Agri process will produce 1 cubic meter of drinking water quality from various water quality inputs, which is more than sufficient supply and recycling capacity per household. Crops with leaf canopies for optimum transpiration can also produce biomass for hydrocarbon energy and/or for a combination of energy, food, feed, fiber, biochemical, biosynthetic, biopharmaceutical or cosmetic, food and drink additive and nutritional, health and wellbeing supplement. Many extracts can be produced from whole plant, seed, flower, fruit harvest or mass cell culture of selected cell lines. Pure cultures are easily grown and optimum conditions, including CO 2? enriched leaf canopy atmosphere and O2 enriched root zone growing systems are used to produce a yield that will exceed that of field culture by as much as 50 times and greenhouse or protected agriculture by a factor of 10 times.
Energy Crisis: Plant Photosynthesis is the Solution
Micro algae are the best option for producing Bio Fuel such as Bio Diesel? in quantities sufficient to completely replace petroleum. While traditional Biomass Crops have yields of around 50-150 gallons of Bio Diesel? per acre per year, algae can yield 500 - 4000 gallons per acre per year. The Vegetable Oil from algae can be converted to Bio Diesel, which is a renewable energy fuel that can be produced from a number of sources including animal fats, algae-sourced oil and vegetable oils by lipid transesterification. It has very similar energy density as compared to petroleum-based diesel, and can be used as a complete replacement or as a mixture of petroleum and Bio Diesel?. Because Bio Diesel? is a renewable fuel, can replace petroleum diesel in current engines, and can be transported and sold using the current infrastructure, it is one of the most realistic candidates to replace fossil fuel as the world's primary transportation and electric power generation energy source.
- Bio Diesel? reduces emissions carbon monoxide (CO) by approximately 50% and carbon dioxide by 78.45%.
- Bio Diesel? contains less aromatic hydrocarbons: benzofluoranthene: 56%; Benzopyrenes: 71%.
- It also eliminates sulfur emissions (SO 2), because Bio Diesel? doesn't include sulfur.
- Reduces by as much as 65% the emission of particulates (small particles). Bio Diesel? does produce more N Ox emissions than petroleum diesel, but these emissions can be reduced through the use of catalytic converters. Petroleum diesel vehicles have generally not included catalytic converters because the sulfur content in that fuel destroys the devices, but Bio Diesel? does not contain sulfur.
- It has a higher cetane rating (less knocking) than petroleum diesel
- Chemically, it is a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids. The transesterification production process removes glycerol from the oil.
Pure Bio Diesel? (BD 100? or B100) can be used in any petroleum diesel engine, though it is more commonly used in lower concentrations. Some areas that have mandated ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) petroleum, which changes the natural viscosity of the fuel because certain materials have been removed. Additives are required to make it properly flow in engines, and Bio Diesel? is one popular alternative. It has been observed that ranges of Bio Diesel? additive as low as 2% (BD 2 or B2) have been shown to restore lubricity. Also, many municipalities have started using 5% Bio Diesel? (BD 5 or B5) in snow-removal equipment and other systems.
Global Warming: Plants Remove CO 2? from the Atmosphere
The great thing about the algae is that it needs no petrochemical fertilizers to grow. It can synthesize proteins by pulling N2 from the air (micro bubbles that are in the water). That is why turbulent flow is so good for rapid growth. It gives access to light, CO 2 and N2 - which is all that is needed for growth (necessary minerals are in the sea water). The entire biomass is edible or can be converted to other products. Land area is not needed - every home and community could be self sufficient in energy and organic nitrogen (that can be fed as a "green manure" to the higher plants). The algae byproduct is so large that it is said that people would not eat so much algae - but the answer is to use the algae as a nutrient to grow other plants and produce the feed for fish farming and poultry production. This gets us off the petrochemical dependency of "modern" agriculture that is completely reliant on petroleum derived nitrogen fertilizers. Please let me remind the reader that today's agriculture accounts for about 16% of our petroleum consumption (tractors, fertilizer, chemicals, and refrigeration and transportation to market) not including the cooking of food (which is some countries is a big item of concern).
Our technology builds on the Open Source Sola Roof methods which are built around liquid thermal mass system that usually provides a reservoir at ground level (a tank or below ground cistern) of an appropriate volume in relation to the roof area. To modify this process for algae culture we will circulate the algae culture water (containing both nutrients and algae) to the CE Agri transparent envelope, where it flows over the surface area of the inner skin of the roof as a thin film. This thin film will directly absorb only about 20% of the solar thermal energy because it flows over a thin, flexible and transparent roof membrane, but the flowing liquid can carry the algae to the roof (the algae are free floating in the liquid) where the algae are well exposed to sunlight for a few seconds and absorb the PAR radiation. Algae that are in ponds are not exposed to the PAR, except when natural motion brings them within a few cm of the surface of the pond. This is a slow process and accounts for the lack of productivity of the natural pond. The CE Agri design overcomes this problem by using a low energy circulation system that conducts the algae to the roof cavity system, which is designed to give a maximum but brief exposure of all the algae to the PAR (Photosynthesis Active Radiation) and the algae have a cellular mechanism to absorb sufficient radiant energy to use for several generations of cellular division (multiplication) which is the special Phytomechanism (growth mechanism) of algae.
The CE Agri projects can get bottled liquid CO 2 delivered as we do now with propane for example. The CO 2 can bleed off at normal pressure into the algae culture tanks. This assures that the enriched CO 2 environment is maintained for maximum photosynthesis and growth by the algae. Whether the project is a CEA project for biotechnology or a vast area greenhouse operations or the CE Agri process is ultimately integrated with urban living where it can be integrated with a single family homes or a large community projects (Eco Sphere is an example) one can get the liquid CO 2 delivered to any size of operation. Remember that this is a CO 2 disposal issue for the centralized power plants and other industrial process that produce CO 2 who must find a way of mitigating vast quantities of GHG. These producers of GHG will use the Carbon Credit Trading System to pay CE Agri renewable oil producers to take their quota for sequestration. In other words renewable oil production can offset fossil oil consumption because we offer CE Agri as a process for recycling the CO 2 waste product - a GHG.
The algae culture tanks are the primary unit of biomass production. These tanks have a certain practical size in association with a specific CE Agri roof area and will probably be scaled up by having farms of tanks. Each tank has a certain liquid volume and a biomass loading rate - which is the % by weight of the algae. A continuous process would be able to skim off the algae at a certain rate while the "bloom" is in progress. This harvest process would be continuous during the daylight hours. The rate of harvest is proportionate to the amount of sunlight. The liquid solar process pumps the seed culture to the transparent roof cavity of the building envelope to expose the optimum mass of algae to the sunlight every hour. This is the time line for cell division and multiplication following sunlight exposure. The cells store radiative energy that can be metabolized later and passed on to the daughter cells. Previous open pond culture use a thick layer of water containing algae, which will not assure adequate exposure because only algae very near the surface will get a sufficient exposure to the light. A thin faster moving water layer flowing over the inner skin of the CE Agri will do the job very well.
The liquid solar controlled environment process requires the circulation of cooling liquid during daylight hours for the purpose of providing climate control - where the thin, flowing liquid film prevents overheating by condensing the transpired moisture produced by the higher plants growing under the CE Agri envelope. The roof cover is already there and paid for as is the pumping energy. So the harvest of algae requires a small incremental investment for setting up the tank and culture/harvest equipment. Even the tank itself would otherwise still be needed and therefore is not an incremental cost against the total capital cost of the algae system. The Pilot Plant will determine what size tank and flow rate is required to produce at an optimum rate of harvest and therefore a proportionate yield of oil as the principle product. From this investigation we will determine in what time period to circulate the entire volume of that tank to the roof (say for example, every hour) then we would experimentally determine the area of CE Agri system needed for an optimum flow rate per area (and get the optimum water film thickness). This will be researched by empirical studies until we get the best productivity out of one tank. Then, to expand to a farm of tanks would know the area of building envelope required - establishing a modular design system. Or a roof of a certain area would be set up with a certain number of algae culture tanks.
Sutainable Economy: Plants for Sustainable Growth
Additionally, the large producers of CO 2? are going to be required by the Carbon Credits program to capture and liquefy their CO 2? and these large scale produces will pay others to take the CO 2? off their hands and sequester it back into the biosphere. Currently there is more practical progress and knowledge of how to separate and collect the CO 2? than there is about practical solutions to sequester it again. The biosphere of forests etc cannot be isolated to uptake the CO 2? without large losses and in any case the rates of sequestration by the photosynthesis of the higher plants in nature, including trees (even so call fast growing tree plantations) are no where near to being able to metabolize the CO 2? that is coming down the pipe so to speak. Only pure intensive algae culture can keep pace, with the benefit that the closed, enriched atmosphere CE Agri cultivation achieves a greatly enhanced rate of growth and conversion that could match step with our growth of population and growth in prosperity.
In the tropical regions and in the developing world we can use the CE Agri construction. A Poly Fabric? skin costs about one Euro per square meter and the structure framing is a high efficiency design, which is an almost flat, extensive roof areas built with light, Wide Span, open web joists. These efficient structure concepts can be built with many types of materials. We can build "tree-free" from recycled metal framing or use bamboo or modern high tech composite fiber materials. Therefore our program will collaborate with many community development and urban renewal projects because it will be the lowest cost and highest value and can show a new pattern of Open Source design that is the foundation for a realistic opportunity for communities to rise up out of their poverty. It would be shameful if the wealthy communities are not motivated to build the pioneering projects that would become patterns for Eco Villages, which are equally accessible to rich and poor communities and that will close the gap between communities through a convergence on the Eco Living lifestyle.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES
Full-scale Proof of Concept Project
This is a small scale CE Agri that will prove the concept of the Under Pressure? technology for producing a stressed skin. This step in our product development program should include construction of a full-scale canopy at the Life Synthesis Manufacturing, Kuching, Malaysia, which will investigate how the building environment can be cooled using the Bubble Tech? and Liquid Solar process so that the sheltered space below has a cool and comfortable environment even on bright hot days. The goal is to complete this study by the summer of 2010
Full-scale Field Test Project
Full-scale Pilot Project
This Phase will cover the development of a proposal for EU funding of a full scale Pilot Project, which will be proposed for construction in winter 2011 at an appropriate high solar energy potential site, possibly in a Mediterranean, North African or Gulf State location. This phase will include the search for an appropriate strategic partner with suitable assets and ability to collaborate with the Life Synthesis Consortia. Data and projections based on investigations and operations of the Field Test Project will be of some considerable benefit and so the start up of:
In the autumn of 2011 we anticipate proceeding to the implementation phase of the Pilot Project at two sites: in the UK and in Almeria.
Life Synthesis will supply management services throughout the development program described above. We propose that Life Synthesis Manufacturing will fabricate material for the modular covering components including conversion of the materials into the prefabricated roof panels. Life Synthesis will provide design and construction services with SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing providing engineering services for structural and mechanical systems, and the Sola Roof Foundation will coordinate relationships with possible Gulf State joint venture partners for the Pilot Project Phase. Other foundations and NG Os? will participate in the Consortium or in association with some of our activities. Foundations and NG Os? that have expressed an interest include: Schumacher College, One Village? Foundation, Shell Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Make Poverty History initiative. Our business consortia will provide team members to manage site construction and commissioning support, while Schumacher College provides services, site, utilities and university staff and student program support. We will jointly seek grants or fees for contract research as may be required to evaluate product.
RATIONALE AND SIGNIFICANCE
Communities in the tropics and especially the arid lands have been underserved by the lack of technology developed to maximize the benefits of the high level of solar resources available in these regions. Our project will unite major universities and colleges, who together with innovative private sector enterprise will form a Development Consortium to investigate, develop and commercially exploit the new biotechnology approach to sustainable resources that has been proposed by the Life Synthesis leadership team. The large numbers of potential end users of the new technology have inspired our collaborative group to extend our model of business cooperation to the vision of implementing a global cooperative network that will provide unlimited accessibility and the practical means to deliver our technology through certification and training programs and make them available through our associated educational institutions.
The impact of this project will prove significant support and resources to other rural sites desiring educational opportunities, which have been too distant or support was too expensive to allow participation in higher education. Through the Life Synthesis initiative the educational opportunity gap between urban and rural communities can be closed and a model program established for consideration by other regions. In addition, our vocational training activities are intended to become self-sustaining programs offered into the future by the Eco Centers in tropical climate countries and adapted (as a model system) to programs in other climate zones.