Chalkboards. They are the first thing we see when entering an educational classroom. This is the functional item to display and transfer ideas and knowledge from the operator of the chalkboard to the students of that knowledge. At the first meeting of the professional members of Green Global Synergy, we met in a classroom with a chalkboard containing the current agricultural process of production of food. A question from group was, is this still viable in today’s world environment? The core answer by the group was a strong No! This was the reason that the professionals came together to form Green Global Synergy. The chalkboard was erased to a blank beginning. The first two items placed on the chalkboard were Energy and Environmental Impact. The Energy Sources for forming a production process would be required to be an alternative to Carbon emitting resources. The solution was to design projects to utilize direct solar exposure for plant growth, and solar collected electricity for use in the operations of the support equipment for the growing process. The secondary energy source is from gasification of the residual biomass from the agricultural production. This gasification produces and separates green hydrogen and converts the carbon monoxide and methane to electricity and heat, also providing a CO2 enriched atmosphere for the plants. The second listed item on the board being Environmental Impact, and our targeted approach to reducing that impact within our footprint and beyond with our products. To exemplify of impact prevention, we believe in Aquaponic production of vegetables and produce due to the self-sustaining process of the closed loop system. We take the aquaponic process much further with the introduction of freshwater Lobster production under the plant growing canals. All vegetable waste from the process will be reintroduced to the system via feeding the Tilapia. The Lobster maintain the cleanliness of the growing canals, which reduces the downtime for biowaste removal.
We also looked at the current designs of aquaponic greenhouses and the heating efficiency of the operation. We focused on the open space above the growing plants, which requires heating in maintaining the growing conditions for the plants. Why not reduce the open space to the minimal required which will reduce the heated space by 70% in cubic feet? A 70% reduction in heated air space (which is expensive due to the lower heat transfer rate of air), and also looking at the design of the heated canals, brought to focus the lower ambient temperature requirements for brassicas (lettuce and greens). The question was to maintain the water in the canals as heated and allow the ambient air temperature to fall to a low of 40oF. The plants would love it, the fish would love it and our energy bill would love it! Spending the time and money on the insulation plates for the canals would be returned many times over. To reduce the air volume in the greenhouse, we designed a retractable roofing system to retract to 3 feet over the plants, thus secondarily increasing the efficiency of the LED grow lights.
Many may ask, “How can a person work in a height so low?”, that we took into consideration and designed an automated plant platform delivery and recovery system. The completed plants are delivered to a workstation that allows the harvest of the plants, sterilization and replanting of the plates prior to return to the automated system. The canal system is designed based on the growing days required for the brassicas for exact length of the canals. For strawberry production, we utilize a rotational tray system which brings the trays into the harvesting area for greenhouse space utilization efficiency.
Continued with Part II… stay tuned and follow our story...