Terraqua Barranca Progress Report August 1, 2011Note: Since the “visuals” in Barranca have been compelling these last several weeks,this report is being done in a PowerPoint format.
Wastewater TreatmentThe system is now successfully treating an average flow of 1.0 l/s of raw wastewater coming from Barranca and neighboring Santa Catalina. During this initial phase all system components – solids removal, influent calibration, duckweed bioreactors, sand filters, harvesters, collection tanks, crop removal, transport and post-harvest processing and storage; sand filters, ozone disinfection, post- ozone water storage, treated water distribution, crop spray maintenance and pest management – are being evaluated for performance, calibrated and integrated into “the system.” Protocols are being developed to allow efficient and safe operation of the integrated system under all conditions that do . . .and can . . . present. Testing of raw, semi-treated and treated effluent is being conducted by the best water quality laboratory in Lima. These data will continue to “inform” development and finalization of appropriate protocols.The system, as it now presents, is visually attractive, compelling to watch “in process,” completely odor-free and completely mosquito-free. We would venture to say that it is already producing the highest quality of treated wastewater effluent in Peru.In the slides which follow we visually present all relevant elements of the system – with brief annotations appended below and/or beside the pictures. Videos of most elements “in operation” will also be distributed forthwith.
Wastewater Treatment Influent Raw Wastewater – Source & VolumeRaw wastewater coming to the site is diverted from a main now delivering a mixed, Santa Catalina / Barranca effluent to two“exhausted” parallel-flow facultative lagoons located on the lower strip (below the cliff) – an area which will eventuallyaccommodate the “treatment phase” of the new Terraqua Barranca wastewater treatment plant.
Wastewater Treatment Influent Raw Wastewater – Solids Separation The “diversion manhole” is being altered a minimal cost to enhance passage of floating solids down to the facultative lagoons. A future capacity upgrade of the Terraqua Eco Parque project will subsequently capture 100% of this flow and deal with influent solids.The adjacent Terraqua Eco Parque manhole now serves tocapture most inorganic solids. A future capacity upgrade ofthe Terraqua Eco Parque project will subsequently capture100% of this flow and deal with influent solids. Design workfor this subsequent phase is being done by new teammember Sara Norris, who has come to us from anengineering position with a futuristic algae-based NASAwastewater treatment project now being conducted in theSan Francisco Bay area.
Wastewater TreatmentInfluent Raw Wastewater – Flow Measurement, Calibration and Adjustment System flows are now measured using a simple “V notch.” The depicted flow is approximately 1 liter per second. Flow is now calibrated from a valved “hook” discharge nozzle built into the Parshall flume influent line. These temporary yet effective systems will be replaced with robust electronic flow monitoring in a subsequent system upgrade.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Hydraulics The subterranean structure of the site comprises tightly packed “round” rocks and stones – a structure which obviates use of simple earthen containment. LDPE liners have been successfully deployed. This picture shows the pond harvester assembly as well as pond influent and effluent lines – “T”eed, in the case of the influent line, to prevent short circuiting.All ponds communicate below the surface to ensure a common“pond group” water depth. Removal of the harvester assemblyprovides a method by which to drain ponds through theharvester drain pipe. All ponds have been rigorously tested forleaks before final filling.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Hydraulics A closer view of a harvester assembly shows how all systems were carefully “booted” to prevent leaks. The 12” “flare” at the top of the harvester assembly increases the rate at which the harvester can collect the floating duckweed mat. Since the harvester does not become inundated, a 6” pipe provides more than adequate drainage. Harvested material all flows to a common collection tank, from which water is again pumped back to the head of the plant. This photograph depicts a “complete fill” leakage testing sequence.This photograph depicts a “complete fill” leakage testingsequence. Because the next pond in line is not yet ready fortesting, influent water is being siphoned out through theharvester assembly.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Hydraulics An adjustable weir attached to the outlet pipe of the final pond “sets” the pond level for each “group” of duckweed ponds. The exact depth of the ponds (relative to the height of the harvester mouth) is set in such a manner as to optimize harvesting. In what will ultimately be a carefully supervised and monitored public park, the innovative bamboo covering delivers both beauty and safety.Once all ponds “passed” the rigorous leakage testing sequence, theponds were filled with irrigation water and then charged withduckweed brought in from “wild growth” found to occur in theCallao region of Lima. Despite Lima being located in a desert, thewild growth occurs in wetlands that are supported by “irrigationtheft” of raw Lima wastewater intended to be discharged directlyinto the nearby ocean. Eating raw strawberries in Lima is notrecommended.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Crop Management This “discretely framed” tongue-in-cheek photograph shows an amused Kyle Lisabeth hosing down a disrobed Paul Skillicorn with disinfected wastewater that has been treated at the site. Paul had just been “doing the responsible thing” by entering the water to connect the harvester-ball cords. The photograph shows the abundant availability of treated water, the pressures attained by the “pressure tank system,” and the ability to generate a “large droplet heavy spray.” As one can infer from Paul’s benign response, the water has neither color nor odor. Netafim will be pleased.Here, Kyle Lisabeth shows how the existing hand spraysystem can be used effectively to gently redistributeattendant duckweed over the entire pond surface followingharvesting. Plans call for the existing hand spray system tobe replaced with a fully programmable spray systemfeaturing several fixed spray heads per pond. This spray,the most important “management/maintenance” tool in theplant managers arsenal, can also be used to mitigate hightemperature stress and minimize the prevalence of pestssuch as aphids and harmful agents such algae and fungi.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Crop Management This picture depicts a pond surface on which the attendant duckweed is perfectly deployed. Coverage is 100% -- serving as an effective barrier to mosquitoes and algae. Density from a growth point of view is also ideal – tightly packed, but not layered. This ensures that every frond has good access to both light and nutrients. Once harvesting takes place – as much as 20% of the crop – there will still be enough plants remaining to ensure the essential 100% cover required to maintain a healthy system.In this picture, Alicia Torres, is untying the harvester chordpreparatory to conducting a harvest of the attendant pond.She has already tested the pond density and determined howmuch duckweed needs to be harvested. In this instance,approximately 10 minutes of unassisted harvesting (no spray)proved to be sufficient. Once the harvest is completed, the“Terraqua ball valve” is simply pulled back over the flaredharvester “mouth.”
Wastewater TreatmentDuckweed Bioreactors – Harvesters The innovative Terraqua “ball-valve” harvesters are made from a child’s tethered rubber ball filled with about 1 liter of water (and, of course, air). They are fitted with a simple polyester cord that is tied off on opposing banks. One person can manage a harvest providing the opposing cord is pulled tight. The top of the harvester is threaded to allow “fine tuning” the installed harvester height. Typically, the top of the harvester will be about 1 cm below the pond surface. The resulting flow, once the ball-valve is “opened,” provides efficient harvesting of the attendant duckweed mat.
Wastewater TreatmentDuckweed Bioreactors – Planning Harvests Here, Alicia Torres Geary, measures the density of the duckweed mat preparatory to harvesting. The duckweed picked up on the 1/16th of a square meter “measuring tool” is drained and then weighed (below) to determine standing density. With Lemna Gibba, which has a pea-like shape, ideal standing densities are somewhat higher than with other species. As one moves down the nutrient chain, and away from the raw influent wastewater, ideal standing densities will gradually creep up to over 2 kg/s per square meter.
Wastewater Treatment Duckweed Bioreactors – Harvesting Six minutes after the ball-valve has been removed, the standing mat in the vicinity of the flared harvester mouth has thinned noticeably. This is a good visual cue for the ball-valve again to be replaced and the pond surface to be sprayed.Harvested duckweed and attendant water from eachharvester flow to a common collection tank. This pictureshows the relatively heavy concentrations of duckweeddelivered by the harvester.
Wastewater TreatmentDuckweed Bioreactors – Harvest Containment & Movement The buoyant duckweed floats to the top during a harvest, allowing the carriage water to flow out the bottom and up into the adjacent tank, from where it is continuously pumped back to the head of the plant. While we now use simple hand tools to remove harvested duckweed from the collection tank, and a wheel barrow to deliver it to a nearby compost pile, we are planning on automating the entire process using belts and screw pumps. Plans call for harvested duckweed to be disinfected with a combination of ozone and ultraviolet light before it is conveyed elsewhere for further processing into feed and feedstuff.
Wastewater TreatmentDuckweed Processing and Reuse Absent a “phase-II” aquaculture complex, we intend using the harvested duckweed to feed a flock of Terraqua Free Range Chickens. These will be grazed in a series of simple “drag-cages” which will be placed on the grassy portions of both sides of the Eco-Parque – shown here surrounding the dome (in the aquaculture plot) that will be used to house the chickens. Duckweed will be “strewn” on the grass, while corn and water will be made available ad libitum from conventional feeders attached to both ends of the drag cages. We are now constructing a simple convection solar dryer that will be used to dry the duckweed preparatory to mixing it with some corn and a “vitamin mix” pending pelleting (floating pellet) for use in aquaculture.
Wastewater Treatment Sand Filters In a Terraqua duckweed-based wastewater treatment system, the effluent may contain a significant amount of the normal “fauna” which inhabit the underside and the top of the mat. This can include everything from aphids to snails. There is relatively little of the “fines” (mostly bacteria) that typically escape an activated sludge system clarifier. As such, the performance requirements of a final “sand filter” differ greatly from systems used with activated sludge treatment. We have, accordingly, chosen to use a “local” twin chamber design incorporating fairly coarse sand. This “simple” systemdoes not have a backwash capability, and we believe it will requireonly occasional cleaning and maintenance. Early results have beenpromising.The sand filters also provide additional treated water buffercapacity – a welcome circumstance while we remain without thelarger treated water tank – construction of which is planned for asubsequent expansion phase.
Wastewater Treatment Treated Flow Disinfection Here, Kyle Lisabeth operates the small US-made ozone unit now used to disinfect treated effluent. Treated, filtered water is passed from the sand filters to the “ozone tank” where it is treated on a 2- pass basis – bubbling up the down-flow tank influent line, and subsequently by a diffuser placed in the center of the ozone tank (see below). A series of exhaustive tests planned for the coming weeks will conclusively determine both the safety and efficacy of this system. Despite concerns related to local humidity, early indications suggest performance will be excellent.
Wastewater Treatment Treated Water Storage Treated, ozonated water storage is currently limited to a single, 2000 liter buried plastic tank located immediately adjacent to the identically sized ozone tank. Future, phase-II plans call for construction of a large, bamboo dome-covered 400 cubic meter tank in the existing gully immediately below “Kyle’s Chapel” (see to the left). Water from this tank will then be used to supply the full range of on-site water applications: duckweed maintenance, aquaculture (processing and make-up water only) drip irrigation, spray irrigation and reverse osmosis.
Wastewater Treatment Treated Water Distribution A conventional pressure tank system draws treated water from the storage tank (see previous slide) and supplies it throughout the complex through a 2” lateral traversing the full site from north to south. Two inch feed lines also lead into the duckweed bioreactor complex, where they supply crop maintenance spray systems (now manual). An additional line passes to the adjacent main building, where it will supply the reverse osmosis apparatus. A further tap to the north of the property will supply the Netafim drip irrigation complex, and a final tap will supply the treated water requirements of both the vermiculture complex and the anaerobic digesters. Below, Stan Harmon, Kyle Lisabeth and Alicia Torres Geary marvel at the “geyser-like” power of the system.
Wastewater Treatment Productive Use, Discharge, Overflow and RecyclingAbsent back-up power systems, a critical operating rule mandatesfail-safe power-off operating modes. Overflow from the sand filter,the duckweed harvester and the treated water storage tank arepassed to a whimsical, rock-lined discharge channel that carriessuch water down below the cliff and out to sea. Extensive power-off testing has shown this system to perform perfectly under a widerange of “failure” conditions.
Wastewater Treatment Reverse Osmosis TreatmentHaving now ensured that the basic sand-filtered, ozone-disinfected duckweed-treated wastewater meets our specifications as to quality, we are commencinginstallation of the small reverse osmosis system now being held in storage. This willthen lead to the critical “glass of water” – the drinking of which will formally initiateanyone given the opportunity, into the Terraqua Club. While we intend extensivelytesting the safety of this “glass of water” in advance, the local mayor has asked thathe be allowed to drink that critical first (public) glass. We intend obliging him onOctober 5 – the true inauguration day for the Terraqua Barranca Eco Parque.Anyone reading this note can also consider himself/herself to have been invited.
Barranca Mayor &Paul toast with a“Glass of Water”
Subsequently,everyone toastswith that Magical“Glass of Water”
Site LandscapingIt is our intention – and a realistic intention – that the Terraqua Barranca Eco Parque come to be regarded as the most beautifuland most interesting park (open to the paying public) in Peru. We have taken pains to employ a unique “stone architecture”system that echoes both Caral and the later Incas. We intend framing this architecture in filigree-like bamboo domes to givesome effortless height and then clothing it in local perennials that provide sustained flowering brilliance. Bougainvillea’s willpredominate, because they at once serve three purposes – growing quickly, blocking the wind (amazingly dense) and delightingthe optic nerve. A number of other flowering trees and vines will also be deployed – as will select giant grasses, palms and cacti. We intend keeping grass to a minimum, and where it is used (on both sides of the main building), making it both brilliant and“special.” We intend using both textured and colored gravel and pebbles to give accent to other open surface areas (see above). This will be the most beautiful and interesting “parque” in all of Peru. We fully expect that every graduating high schoolstudent in Lima, 5 years hence, will have visited the park with his class.
Terraqua Barranca Parque EcologicoLooking South over Koi Pond at Administration Complex
Terraqua Barranca Parque Ecologico Looking South across Main Bioreactor Array
Terraqua Barranca Parque EcologicoLooking Southeast across Main Bioreactor Array
Terraqua Barranca Parque EcologicoLooking Southwest across Main Bioreactor Array
Terraqua Barranca Parque Ecologico Looking East over Bioreactors 1 & 2
Terraqua Barranca Parque EcologicoLooking South over Bioreactor Array with Patterned Gravel
Terraqua Barranca Parque EcologicoLooking West over 2nd Bioreactor Array, Dome and Solar Dryer
Treated Water Reuse Drip Irrigation – NETAFIM PartnershipWe have our fingers crossed on this one. Netafim is unchallenged as the world’s #1 drip irrigation company. We believe, nevertheless,that we have much to offer them. We know, without doubt, that they have much to offer us. We intend that they “do” the extractiveplant irrigation demonstration at the Terraqua Barranca Eco Parque.
Water Reuse Domed Aquaculture IQF Fillets Tilapia Barramundi Fresh Fillets Arapaima / PaicheFish production is the financial “engine” of the Terraqua system – which we believe will quickly come to be know as the most efficientaquaculture system in the world: free water and free nutrients combined with a “better and more efficient” system. Each 0.5 mgd“modular” wastewater treatment system will have 3 “36’ aquaculture domes” housing a unique “concentric lane” recirculating watersystem which, unlike other such systems, will deliver a “zero nitrate” LST (low surface tension) treated water back to the fish. Also, unlikeany other system, literally everything will be “captured” in that recycle – fecal matter and uneaten feed, along with the “waste” portionof the filleted fish (heads, guts, skin and bones – everything). The small, integrated-team personnel structure, rising slope reinforcementand strong internal competition across the system will drive efficiencies.
Intensive TilapiaAquaculture: The“Chicken” of Fish
The earthquake-safeand massivelyefficient TerraquaDodecahedron Dome
Water Reuse Tissue Cultured Arundo DonaxFertigation buried-drip (Netafim innovation) irrigated ArundoDonax will produce more lignocellulosic biomass than any otherplant on earth. We intend, with Netafim’s help, grabbing the toprung of this ladder and working diligently to stay there. In order todo so, we will also need, gradually, to develop increasingly efficienttissue culture approaches to producing Arundo Donax propagules.While the eventual “home run” to be hit is biofuels, we will,ourselves, concentrate on using AD to produce engineered lumbersand boards (followed by pulp and paper). As the most efficientbiomass producer in the world, we can expect the “energy”technology eventually to come to us.
Water Reuse Harvested Arundo Donax Pressed Board & Engineered LumberDrying AD Stalks Initially we will “self-consume” in Terraqua dome AD Engineered Lumber production all the AD engineered lumber we produce on our “refurbished” single-opening press. We will then begin selling “packaged home domes” as the market develops. Finally, we will sell the lumber directly. Lumber on the Peruvian Pacific coast costs twice what it does in the US. Long-stalk veneer AD Refurbished Single Opening Press Engineered Board Forage-harvested AD Engineered Board
Water ReuseTissue Cultured Extractives There are, today, well over a hundred plants, extracts of which command very high prices in the global market place. By combining the very highest fertigation drip technology and localized modular processing with a broad-based, but nimble and flexible approach to selecting among these plants, we should be able to surf this wave indefinitely. We intend selecting a small number of “base” - easy to grow and easy to process “high demand” - extracts such as stevia to serve as the backbone of the business. We will rely on Ven Subbiah, our resident extractives expert to guide us on the others. Developing a highly flexible tissue culture capability will be critical. Our solar drying technology will also serve us well in this business. Drying and extracting fruit as well as duckweed and, yes, even worms (for protein powder) will be an adjunct to this business.
Water ReuseKenaf Seeds, Oil and (future) Fiber We remain convinced that kenaf will find its place as an important global crop. Producing kenaf seeds will become the most remunerative niche in that business. At this time there are no reliable seed producers in the Southern Hemisphere (off season, therefore higher priced supply). Kenaf oil, with extremely high Omega 3s, holds some promise as a boutique oil and can become an adjunct to the mainline seed business. Producing kenaf fiber products can follow if South American demand warrants.
A maturing crop ofKenaf: ConstructionFiber, Oil Adsorbentand Filter Medium
Emerging Terraqua Industry DomesTerraqua Barranca now has three domes “under construction” at the Eco Parque site – two 24’ domes and one 36’ dome – theone depicted above. The purpose of the domes is to provide highly affordable working space in a configuration that is botheffective and attractive – conceptually and visually. Domes will feature heavily in the aquaculture component of thesubsequent Terraqua Barranca wastewater treatment plants, but they will also be used throughout the system for workspace,to house equipment and to provide storage. Interest in the domes from the local Peruvian public has been massive. In a regionthat features some of the most unattractive housing structures on earth, a plan is now emerging that will capture this interest ina spinoff commercial endeavor that will produce “dome kits” (structure, exterior and interiors) from arundo donax engineeredlumbers and boards. Indeed, the local woodworking industry sent a delegation to Terraqua administrators “demanding” thatwe “include” such an industry in our business plan. This would initially happen as a simple adjunct to our internal consumptionof domes. Requiring very little investment, it would grow as market demand manifests. The singular Lassiter DodecahedronGeodesic Dome has truly arrived in South America.
Terraqua Business Municipal PartnershipsSupport for Terraqua within the province of Barranca has been unwavering. Providing we can swing the financing, all thewastewater produced within the province is ours for the taking. Barranca is offering additional value in its new urban expansionzone (10 hectares and possibly some co-financing). Supe is suggesting that a portion of its existing $15 million “water andsanitation” budget can move in our direction providing we “take on the job.” The town is now also providing us with 24/7security support (see above) and building new roads to the site.
Terraqua BusinessInstitutional / Bureaucratic Partnerships It’s wonderful, in a developing country such as Peru to feel confident that, when you see a police car drive up (above), that the officer is just “checking in to make sure everything’s OK.” This response is now universal in Barranca. In the top left picture we’re meeting with the top management of Semapa, the water/wastewater parastatal, to discuss the project. Below that, Pedro, the top official in Santa Catalina poses for a treasured picture – treasured by both of us, I might add.
Terraqua Business Campesino Partnerships“Los Japoneses,” father and son, are “possessionarios” of the last plot along the 50 hectares of bottom land . . . up against theriver. Ironically, they are already producing tilapia in ponds supplied with “agua filtrada” that comes down to them through thecliff. They will number among our fist group of village partners.
Terraqua Business Landowner PartnershipsThis man (name escapes me) sought us out while visiting our Eco Parque site on Fiestas Patrias – Peruvian independence day –and invited us to visit his “chacra.” After spending an hour with him – sampling his pisco and two wines – it became clear to methat he would be amenable to “throwing in with us” if the circumstance presents. We’ll keep this connection alive. There aremany other such “gentleman-farmers” in the region.
Terraqua Business Investor Partnerships These are just a few of the “interested” Peruvians having the private wherewithal to make direct investments into Terraqua Barranca and subsequent Terraqua endeavors. We continue to engage all four, and are expanding the conversation to include many others.