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Large scale hot climate aquaponic farm requirements

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Large scale hot climate aquaponic farm requirements

  1. 1. Aquaponics Global Ltd. Towards a Feasibility Study for an Aquaponic Food Factory. 8/28/2013 1© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  2. 2. Crop families that can be grown  Compositae (lettuce, endive).  Cruciferae or cole family (broccoli, cabbage,cauliflower, brussels sprouts, pak choi and other Oriental broad leafed vegetables, mustard and oilseed mustard, turnips, radish).  Cucurbits – cucumber family (cucumber,zucchini,squash,pumpkin,melon and their relatives such as the kiwano which comes from the Namibian desert, likes heat and is very fashionable).  Lamiaceae (mint,all the many varieties of basil,lavender,many varieties of thyme,oregano).  Chenopodiacieae (spinach, beets, chard, amaranth, quinoa (the latter two are pseudograins which can be grown like spinach, at high density and very high yields per acre. Need little or no further processing to be edible. Now very fashionable.).  Solonaceae – deadly nightshade family (tomato, pepper, eggplant, potato, tomatillo, Cape gooseberry, chillies).  Liliaceae – lily family (onions, leeks, garlic, chives).  Gramineae – (sweet corn, tortilla flour and oilseed corn).  Leguminosae – leguminous plants (beans, peas, soybeans, fava beans, sugar peas, mangetout peas, etc).  Also cotton and linen can be grown, and okra. Also culinary herbs. Basil in some markets can bring in very high profits per square meter.  The sky’s the limit, really. Of course there are plants that do not like having their roots in water all the time, but these can be grown in a modified growing media aquaponics system. 8/28/2013 2© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  3. 3. You can rear:  Tilapia (oreochromis species, of African origin). Now getting very fashionable in the US.  Trout, brown and rainbow trout. Has to be grown less intensively at less fish per gallon, in larger tanks than tilapia, but waste water still very effective at growing the above crops.  Perch varieties, similar to trout. Various varieties worldwide.  Murray cod. This is a giant freshwater cod from Australia.  Sleepy cod. Another freshwater cod from Australia.  Barramundi. A large gourmet fish from Australia.  Yabbies (Australian blue crayfish).  Malaysian giant prawns (under the floating rafts). 8/28/2013 3© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  4. 4. You may need a licence for tilapia fish in some states. These species are not invasive if they are grown in special tanks in locations far away from running water such as rivers, ponds and lakes. Dead within 5 minutes of escaping the tank. Unlike crustaceans such as crabs, which can survive long periods out of water. Do due diligence about local fish possession regulations before planning any aquaponics installation. Regulations can be very strict and require you to change your plans. 8/28/2013 4© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  5. 5. Waste Water Management  The waste water from the tanks is recycled through the hydroponic plant troughs and filtration mechanisms. No untreated effluent from the fish ever reaches the water table or watershed.  All fish byproducts are composted and re-used or sold as organic manure after a lengthy composting and water reclamation process.  Waste water is recycled through the plants, which clean it, by using the dissolved nitrates as fertilizer, and return it to the fish for re-use. NO 8/28/2013 5© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  7. 7. Water Usage.  This method of producing food uses 10%-1.5% of the water normally used for food production. This percentage is used to top up the system and for flushing fish solid wastes into holding ponds for dewatering and composting. The rest is constantly recycled. 8/28/2013 7© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  8. 8. This method of producing food can grow up to 4 times more food per acre than any other food production method known. It requires around 10% of the equivalent space used by conventional farming to grow a comparable volume of food for the space under cultivation. 8/28/2013 8© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  9. 9. Energy Required. Per ⅛ acre/0.05 ha: 1 x ½ horsepower pump 1 x 1 ½ horsepower regenerating air blower. 1 x 1 horsepower regenerating air blower. This equals 3 horsepower for one 500 square meter/⅛ acre aquaponics system unit. That is 18 horsepower constantly 24/7 for a six unit farm. That equals 13.24 kilowatts constantly needed AT LEAST. 8/28/2013 9© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  10. 10. Does Not Include  This does not include the power needed for smaller pumps and air blowers for the breeding system, light and running power for refrigerators, freezers, other water pumps, the depuration tanks and their systems, the kitchens, the offices, etc.  Using the heat from composting to heat a greenhouse when heating is needed, and alternative energy supply methods such as wind and solar power for electricity generation, you can reduce the energy needed for this food production method to well below 30% of what is normally used for conventional food production. In many cases only 17% of the energy usually needed is used. These figures depend on the climate you are in to a large extent and also how well your farm is managed.  Heat exchangers also work well in the desert for heating and cooling spaces, and for parasitic energy harvesting from inhabited heated or cooled buildings and factories near or around your aquaponics systems.  You may need to heat or cool greenhouses and water tanks. It all depends on the climate and what you are rearing or growing. 8/28/2013 10© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  11. 11. Nutrients Required For Plant Growth. Macronutrients Micronutrients  C Carbon*  - O Oxygen*  - H Hydrogen*  - N Nitrogen  - K Potassium**  - Ca Calcium**  - Mg Magnesium  - P Phosphorus  - S Sulphur- Cl Chlorine  - Fe Iron**  - Mn Manganese  - B Boron  - Zn Zinc  - Cu Copper  - Mo Molybdenum  Supplied by CO2 and H2O  ** Must be supplemented by base addition (tiny quantities at micrograms per litre as and when needed). 8/28/2013 11© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  12. 12. Seedling Production – Required:  Shade house and or greenhouse in the tropics and deserts.  Greenhouse benches.  Seedling flats.  E-Z seeder.  Watering and fertilizer injection system.  Soilless growing media and media mixing.  Labor.  Scheduling.  Good management. 8/28/2013 12© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  13. 13. Seedling Production – Required:  Greenhouse or shade house: protected area in the warehouse.  Keep it clean: metal tables, floor with drain, weed barrier.  Dirt and dead material harbor insects and disease.  Wash your hands before and after work.  Use a bleach tray for your shoes before entering the propagation area  Only biologically safe integrated pest control can be used, no chemical insecticides, not even ‘organic’ ones.  Institute a pest patrol.  Successful plant propagation is a valuable skill that requires training and experience. 8/28/2013 13© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  14. 14. Raft Aquaponics – Required Per ⅛ Acre:  Shallow raceways 100 feet long with LDPE or other tough food grade plastic liner.  Fish safe silicon for joining liner sections.  6 raceways, 30.5 m x 1.3m x 0.4m  100 ft x 4 ft x 16 inches. 8/28/2013 14© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  15. 15. Water volume of the hydroponic raft systems per ⅛ acre aquaponics system:  68m2/  +/-18,000 gallons.  3 hour liquid retention time. This is very important and is why you need a pump with an adjustable flow rate for the entire system. Liquid retention time in the hydroponic raceways = plant nitrate uptake time. If this is not correct the plants will not grow at the correct rate and the water will not be purified of nitrates sufficiently. You may also get problems with dissolved oxygen levels and other water parameters. 8/28/2013 15© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  16. 16. Topping Up The System Water has to be topped up at +/- 10% of volume over time to replace that lost by evaporation and transpiration, and flushing of system to remove solids buildup in the solids removal tanks. This is dependent on a lot of factors such as temperature, fish feeding rates, leakage, accidents, and good water management practices generally. This is the biggest factor to consider when estimating how much water is needed overall to run the facility, apart from water needed to process food (cleaning fish, vegetables, catering, washing, etc.) The exact amount of water loss varies depending on temperature, plants and fish species grown, system design, etc., but can be as little as 1.5%. Good management is crucial here. Water usage should be metered and logged and strictly rationed as appropriate. 8/28/2013 16© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  17. 17. Water Quality Vital  Water needs to be of high quality and free of contaminants.  Fish are very sensitive and DIE if exposed to contaminants, including excess minerals, excess nitrites, soap, pesticides including 'organic' pesticides, oils, etc.  With water from an artesian well, often reverse osmosis filtration is needed before it can be added to a hydroponic system. This is because a lot of groundwater from fossil water supplies is heavily mineralized. Water testing before constructing your aquaponics systems will tell you what you will need to do to ensure water quality is optimal. 8/28/2013 17© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  18. 18. 72 Rafts Required Per ⅛ Acre: 2.4m x 1.2m x 3.8cm. 8 ft x 4 ft x 1.5 inches. Closed cell painted polystyrene. 8/28/2013 18© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  19. 19. Land area needed per hydroponic raceway:  0.056 ha, or 0.14 acre. Leave 4 feet between raceways lengthwise for access.  Also needed for ⅛ acre of raceways for hydroponic element of the system:  1 horsepower regenerative blower for aeration and accessories. 8/28/2013 19© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  20. 20. FISH TANKS, SOLIDS REMOVAL AND DEGASSING.  There are 4 fish rearing tanks and a solids and gas removal tank system (degassing tank) for every ⅛ acre. A degassing tank removes excess CO2 and HSO2 from the water before it enters the hydroponic raceways. Degassing tank in front of sump. 8/28/2013 20© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  21. 21. Rearing tanks:  Diameter: 10ft,  Height, 4 ft,  Water volume, 2,060 gallons. 8/28/2013 21© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  22. 22. Clarifiers:  Diameter: 6ft,  Height of cylinder: 4 ft,  Depth of Cone: 3.5ft.  Slope: 45 degrees. 8/28/2013 22© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  23. 23. Water volume of clarifiers:  1,000 gallons each.  There are 2 clarifiers per aquaponics system. 8/28/2013 23© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  24. 24. Filter and degassing tanks:  Length: 6 ft,  Width: 2.5 ft,  Depth: 2 ft. 8/28/2013 24© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  25. 25. Water volume filter and degassing tanks:  185 gallons each.  There are 4 filter and 1 degassing tank per ⅛ acre system.  The filter tanks contain a lot of plastic orchard netting as a home for billons of nitrifying bacteria. The water in an aquaponics system cannot be chlorinated or chloramined (tap water) or it kills these bacteria and the whole system stops working immediately. Chlorinated water also kills your fish. 8/28/2013 25© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  26. 26. Sump:  Diameter: 4ft, Height: 3ft.  Water volume: 160 gallons.  Base addition tank for adding trace minerals: Diameter: 2ft, Height: 3 ft,  Water volume: 50 gallons.  Flow rate: 100 gallons per minute. 8/28/2013 26© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  27. 27. Pump:  ½ horsepower for the whole system.  Under the sump. 8/28/2013 27© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  28. 28. Blowers:  1 ½ horsepower to aerate the fish.  1 horsepower to aerate the plants.  High levels of dissolved oxygen are essential in intensive aquaculture or your fish and plants will die. 8/28/2013 28© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  29. 29. Total system water volume  29,375 gallons for each 1/8 acre self-contained unit. 8/28/2013 29© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  30. 30. Risk Management: The units have to be self contained for damage limitation, to prevent disease and disaster spreading over a bigger system and wiping everything out. Better to have a lot of smaller units that are self-contained. You then lose only a few tons of fish and vegetables and not the whole lot at one time. 8/28/2013 30© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  31. 31. Large Scale Water Volume  Over say 40 acres, that is (29,375 x 8 x 40=9,400,000 gallons not including the volume of water in the fish breeding system, water for propagation and water for food processing after harvest and also hygiene use for your workers, cleaning tanks, etc.. You would need to replace, at a 1. 5% a day water loss rate, 141,000 gallons a day for that number of systems (320 self- contained systems, growing different kinds of fish, fruit and vegetables at different rates on different schedules, or just tilapia and high value crops on a simple staggered harvesting schedule across all of the systems.)  Most of that water lost can be retrieved by dewatering fish solids removed , and used for irrigation of soil crops. 8/28/2013 31© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  32. 32. Computer Surveillance  You would definitely need to computerize this with sensors at least to some extent, with 24/7 human oversight.  You cannot rely entirely on automatic sensors because they break.  You have less than 30 minutes to rectify a nitrite spike in your system due to overfeeding, clogging or other factors, or all your fish will die. This usually happens on weekends or at four in the morning. Shift work is the only way to ensure a technician is always on duty to address emergencies as they arise. Living on the farm is essential. 8/28/2013 32© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  33. 33. Start Small, Build Up In Stages.  What I suggest is that you start with six initial systems and build up your farm in stages. It all depends on how much water your artesian well yields per day as to what you can initially do and the volume of systems you can initially build.  When you have income coming in from those systems, you can expand and sink another well if necessary to supplement water volume. 8/28/2013 33© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  34. 34. Use Dehumidifiers By installing dehumidifiers in your greenhouse, you can scavenge a lot of the evaporated water back out of the air volume of the warehouse and return it to the tanks. They also help prevent fungus disease of the plants and make the atmosphere more comfortable for the workers and visitors. 8/28/2013 34© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  35. 35. Fish Breeding Units  You will eventually need at least 5 acres for fish breeding tanks as well, with their own biofiltration systems, drum filters, smaller aquaponic biofilter, and also a reliable water supply.  Fish breeding requires attention to detail and a certain amount of training and experience.  The equipment is a bit more complex than for later stages of fish rearing  Methyl testosterone feed is used with tilapia fry to make sure all adult fish in the rearing tanks are male.  This hormone is out of the fish metabolism by 180 days into the life cycle which is less time than it takes them to grow to marketable size from a dosed fry.  You do not want females and breeding in the rearing tanks since you want all the fish to grow out at the same rate to the same size without wasting feed and time on fish that are substandard size and weight. 8/28/2013 35© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  36. 36. Depuration Tanks And Equipment  Also you will need to have depuration tanks for the fish where they rest unfed in pure water for 5 days before slaughter. This is to rinse away any 'off' flavors from intensive rearing.  These tanks will also have to have their own filtration system and aeration. 8/28/2013 36© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  37. 37. 5 Metric Tonnes Of Fish, Plus Tonnes Of Vegetables  The data for tilapia alone say that one system yields 5 metric tonnes of fish and at least that for biomass (vegetables and fruit) a year. So for 160 systems (20 acres initially) you would be getting up to 800 metric tons of fish and 800 metric tons of vegetable biomass a year once all the systems were built and in operation. For this volume of food, you need a very good sales and marketing team and markets already in place, and REFRIGERATED STORAGE in abundance. 8/28/2013 37© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  38. 38. Fast Income If you grow high end culinary herbs such as basil and tarragon, , you can expect to make serious money within the first six months of operation and pay off any investment in a year or so.  Two thirds of your income from aquaponics comes from the vegetables and soft fruit such as melons. The fish only bring in enough to pay operating expenses and are much slower to start bringing in income (from a standing start, you will not be able to start harvesting your fish for at least six months (tilapia) to two years (trout). Vegetables start coming out of the aquaponics systems within eight weeks of pushing the start button, as long as you have started your seedling propagation in advance to be in sychronisation with the requirements of your main aquaponics systems. 8/28/2013 38© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  39. 39. How It Works.  8/28/2013 39© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  40. 40. 8/28/2013 40© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  41. 41. 8/28/2013 41© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  42. 42. 8/28/2013 42© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  43. 43. Buried Plumbing  The pipework on an aquaponics system according to the UVI type design is buried in the ground under the tanks for the most part.  Access to pipework is kept simple and free drainage assured by basing the system on a top layer of gravel all over the system site. 8/28/2013 43© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  44. 44. Some Questions  WHAT ARE THE PRICE STRUCTURES FOR LOCAL PRODUCE SUCH AS GOURMET LETTUCE, BASIL, CUCUMBERS, MELONS, DELICATA SQUASH, CULINARY HERBS, FLOWERS, AND SO ON?  What are the health and safety regulations like? For food production and processing facilities?  Have you gone into Concentrated Solar Power as an option? You have the land and it is cheaper to install than solar panels for this size, more efficient and moreover can be used to purify your water supply at the same time.  What are the rules about erecting tents or temporary buildings on your light industry zoned area? Are there any?  What are the grey water regulations? Are composting toilets allowed in your area?  We need to get the water supply from the well analysed chemically and radiologically.  Are there any banned species of plant or fish in your state? 8/28/2013 44© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  45. 45. How are we going to finance this?  I am researching grants, there seem to be quite a few. However, we need a plan to be established with a really broad brief to allow for courses to be held and events, also catering, as in a fish restaurant, and food processing area, that is under the hygiene regs. 8/28/2013 45© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  46. 46. Other Areas Needed  Storage and lading areas,  Car parking  Truck parking  Work areas for construction of aquaponic systems  Plant propagation houses  Fish breeding systems (substantial space required)  Refrigeration rooms  Food processing and fish filleting houses  Office space and showers and toilets, reception, and a staff kitchen.  Classrooms and laboratories.  Friendly insect breeding area  Fish feed, chemicals and equipment storage  Optional cafe, restaurant, event and conference areas.  Security perimeter and checkpoints  Grey water treatment and recycling area  Composting area  Field crops area  Water storage tanks for the whole farm.  Spare isolation tanks for new imports of fish from elsewhere.  Staff housing and facilities. 8/28/2013 46© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  47. 47. Nevada Project Note  That the warehouse has an earthen floor is good news. We will have to dig holes in it to lay the pipework for the aquaponic systems. A gravel top layer will go on top of this around the tanks and over the pipework. This prevents mud, drains away water spills and is easy to dig up again. 8/28/2013 47© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  48. 48. Feasibility Study Urgent.  A visit to sort this all out and cost it properly at each proposed site from local sources of equipment etc is urgent.  The same as above applies for any large scale installation in Africa etc. 8/28/2013 48© Aquaponics Global Ltd., London, England.
  49. 49. Let’s Get Moving! 8/28/2013 49© Aquaponics Global Ltd, 2012