Integrated energy: Industrial Ecosystems

Key points

  • Closed-loop design combines hybrid and co-generation to solve fundamental limitations of renewables
  • Existing technologies minimise technological and operational risk
  • Components act synergistically via positive feedback to minimise waste and maximise output
  • Produces food, water, biofuels and electricity from 100% renewable resources - Potentially regenerates marginalised land in semi-arid and arid regions
Industrial Ecosystems

Biomimicry: learning lessons from nature

We believe the challenges faced by solar have a simple and elegant solution: to combine existing solar hybrid and co-generation technologies, using product water as irrigation, boosting harvests in arid and semi-arid regions. As food crop residues are used as back-up biofuel we produce food, water and energy from 100% renewable resources.

Minimum waste equals Maximum Output

Our configuration uses waste products from one process as useful inputs to another, minimising waste and permitting positive feedback in a virtuous circle of investment in and profit from natural resources that maximises efficiency and output: clean irrigation water reduces water stress and increases crop yield and biofuel production, making an additional source of fuel available for electricity and water generation. More water for irrigation further improves yields, and therefore electricity and water supply in a convergent sequence of increasing output.

Meeting Peak Demand

By connecting synergistic technologies we create a system that is more than just the sum of its parts, producing multiple outputs and self-sourcing required inputs much like a natural ecosystem. This multiplicity allows for optimal resource allocation between processes to meet variable demand and maximise profit: at times of low-demand and high-supply, excess capacity may be directed to water production, and rapidly redeployed to electricity when required. The creation of food, water and electricity provides the essentials for life in environments previously unfavourable to human habitation.

Water is Fuel and Plants are our Batteries

By diverting energy to water for food and biofuel production, excess electrical energy is indirectly stored as standing biomass, which may then be stored (for months or years) and converted back to electricity in biomass boilers. This process smooths out troughs in diurnal and seasonal irradiance patterns, enhancing base biofuel capacity required to respond to peak demand and overnight production.

Profit from Investment in Natural Resources

Using sea or brackish water as a secondary source for irrigation and drinking water may help alleviate pressure and perhaps even recharge dwindling fresh water sources in arid and semi-arid areas. Irrigation using water with low salt content together with composting of biomass waste increases humic and nutrient content and reduces soil salinity.

All these benefits are possible using 100% renewable technology.