AquaBioPonics: Why Micro AquaBioPonics Systems – MSABP?

AquaBioPonics – By: Dr. Aecio D’Silva, designer of AquaBioPonics Technologies

AquaBioPonics is the Sustainable Integration of aquaculture + hydroponics + rainwater harvest + beneficial insects + vermiculture + organic land gardening + small livestock + wind and solar power + biofertilizers + biofuels among others components to produce high quality organic food. MSABP is the micro version of AquaBioPonics.

These are some reasons why you should empower yourself growing your own organic and healthy food using AquaBioPonics – MSABP.

AquaBioPonics in Action (Source: Aquabioponics)

AquaBioPonics in Action (Source: Aquabioponics)

Having a MSABP you can:

  • Can grow organically almost any produce and vegetables plus Tilapia – excelent protein source
  • Is not limited to age group or gender – ideal for women, teens, adults and right for the elderly
  • Is modular and movable – can be disassembled and shipped if necessary, and can be set up almost anywhere
  • Is an extremely efficient teaching tool as a life and business labs in schools – almost everything can be taught in any level of learning
  • Uses minimum and small spaces and can be indoor or outdoor
  • Uses no fertilizers or pesticides – completely spray free
    Recycles 100% nutrient usage – zero wastage
  • Has zero nutrient rich effluent discharge – no nutrient-rich water dumping
  • Has low water usage – up to 90% less than soil based agriculture; stored rainwater can be used to top up
  • Has low power consumption – can be powered by Renewable energy
  • Has low environmental footprint – almost zero, in fact if powered by solar-wind power
  • Delivers higher productivity per sqm – up to four times compared with land growing agriculture
  • Easy to set up, operate and use – can be up and running in a matter of hours
  • Opens avenues for small business and value addition of nutritious food products
  • Is commercially viable with low running costs
  • Helps food security programs – promotes health organic diets
  • Creates employment and self-employment – boosts local economy
  • Addresses region’s nutritional deficiencies – contributes to good health and well-being of children, teens, adults and elderly in your community

It is about time to develop AquaBioPonics system in your house, garage, garden, backyard, school, community. Why not?




Sustainability to Succeed – The Four Levels

Sustainability has emerged as a growing hype in various levels of society. It is hard to miss a reference to the ‘sustainability’ buzz word in any science or emerging technology journal or business innovation magazine.

What Needs to Sustainability to Succeed?

What Needs to Sustainability to Succeed?

This may seem like a new trend, however if you think of it, businesses have ‘sustained’ themselves for many years and various societies have ‘sustained’ for much longer than our current one. What is changing is the way the various levels of sustainability are being integrated.

Most people think of environmental requirements for present and future generations when they hear sustainability. On the other hand, if you are roaming in a business environment, it is often thought of in a financial sense. However these areas are not as segregated as one would think when considering sustainable solutions.

We have always argued that a truly sustainable solution should have an environmental, economic, and social goal, and most importantly, a sustainable leadership mind-set in order to succeed. A company that thrives to be sustainable ought to have short-term and long-term plans for each of these development areas.

Sustainability is intrinsically driven by creative change, innovation and adaptation driven by a sustainable leadership. Think for example in the context of a society. The societies that sustained for the longest are the ones that could resolve crises creatively; however the ones that could not, faced an inevitable decline. The same can be said for sustainable businesses.

 The long-term success of a business does not only depend on the amount of profit it makes, but how it creates and maintains a long-term positive cash flow. This requires sustainability and leadership-driven planning on the following four levels:

 1. Environment/Energy/Efficiency/Empower

Companies that incorporate a true effort to optimize the principles of efficiency in resource usage, sustainable energy use, environmental consciousness and empowering sustainable personal leadership are not just doing this for their own ‘peace of mind’ or to improve the company image, they are also expecting long-term economic benefits from this.

As part of a short-term plan, a sustainable leadership empowering training program, a reduction of energy costs and leaner operations as far as resource usage will have a direct effect on the bottom line of the company.

Companies that make this ‘4 E principle’ part of their longer term plans and make a larger investment in this (e.g. solar power installation, bio-fuel powered fleet, sustainable leadership training, etc.) will benefit from a longer-term reward, both on the level of lower operation costs and the level of costumer retention (especially if sustainability is not just a “feels good” slogan, but a significant part of the companies leadership, vision and mission).

 2. People/Social

Especially with the growth of social media in companies business strategies, the social effect of sustainability is become more significant and a differentiator in how companies position themselves in the marketplace.

More and more companies are putting more effort into ‘helping a cause’ as part of their strategy. Of course this is not without a purpose to receive a corresponding ROI (return on investment) and expected growth and expansion, but nevertheless there are plenty of examples where this form of sustainability has benefited society in the long run.

Another level of this is at the increased employee retention, which a company that puts more effort into sustainable personal leadership for its people typically has. This also benefits the growth of the company if one thinks about how much time and money it costs to replace an employee.

 3. Business/Financial

Of course the initial goal of a company is to maintain a positively growing bottom line. Short term sales goals with sustainable profit margins and a long term vision of growth, product diversification and new market entry are strategies that maintain a sustainable business from a financial perspective.

Without this, a company could put all the effort it wants in being socially, environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, but in the end if it doesn’t make enough money, it is evident that none of its stakeholders input or its good intended efforts will sustain.

 4. Sustainable Leadership

Every sustainable action, project, programs are developed by people. Consequently, for sustainability to succeed it is irreplaceable to empower and educate people to understand, practice, master and move their lives and business in a sustainable way.

So, having a sustainable leadership or a leadership knowing how to be driven by sustainability at personal and corporate levels is vital for sustainability to be successful in every angle. Everyone and every company developing sustainable projects and programs has to put high emphasis on teaching, coaching and instructing sustainability to form sustainable based leaders with resolved minds.

As we know from our concept of system where everything is connected and everything affects everything, having sustainable leadership principles, that drive all what we do personally and in business, are a backbone component to sustainability. It accomplishes its purpose in our lives, families, business, as well as, in all that we plan, do and develop.

Practically speaking, any sustainable efforts and programs that aim to have long-term success should initiate an intensive, sustainable leadership with a resolved mind-set education program that extends to everyone involved in running the company.

 Sustainability – The Commitment to These Four Levels

In general terms, if a company maintains a commitment at these four levels it is often referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which drives sustainability. Interestingly this statement can easily be turned around as sustainability driving CSR and the company leadership.

Finally, it is important to understand that sustainability requires change, training and education. However this change needs to be with a purpose, with a clear goal, a true innovation in itself and plenty of guidance and preparation. This change for sustainability quite often requires a change in attitude, mind-set and lifestyle.

Sustainable cities and green buildings, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and green chemistry are just a few examples to think off, where lifestyle conditions are required to conserve resources. The ability to change and the influence of sustainable leaders can make a difference between ‘sustaining’ or perishing.

By: Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Advanced Energy Independence Lab) and Dr. Aecio D’Silva, CEO Moura Technologies.


Now Algae Coloring the Future Green eBook is Available  in Google Play

Lean TQLSystems vs. Six Sigma Way – The Results Make All the Difference

Lean TQLSystems – By: Dr. Aecio D’Silva, CEO, Moura Technologies and Dr. John Kyndt (Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at MT – Advanced Energy Independence Lab).

 In our training courses, lectures and consulting of continuous improvement and innovation programs someone upfront always asks the following question:

What is the difference between our Lean TQLSystems Way (Lean Total Quality Leadership System), Lean Management (Toyota Way) and Six Sigma Management (GE Way)?

Lean TQLSystems – The Results Make All the Difference

Lean TQLSystems - The Results Make All the Difference

Lean TQLSystems – The Results Make All the Difference

In fact, if your company, organization or business is considering or reviewing the options for implementing a program of Continuous Improvement and Innovation the first question that may arise is which technology to use.

Your business can be in agribusiness, mining, pharmaceuticals, energy, health care, cosmetics, transport or research and development, and can consist of a factory, office, laboratory, hospital, airport, schools, universities, shopping mall or any other activity of products, services or technology, one of the first decisions you will have to make is which program / system that will choose how to continuously innovate your business.

First of all, you should know that differences between Lean TQLSystems and Lean Management are very few or almost none.

They are basically just different implementation methodologies, with a strong focus on attitude and great fidelity to the innovation teachings of Dr. E. Deming.

However there are basic and fundamental differences between Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma management

Today with the global success of Lean Production Management (Lean Management) led by Toyota and Boeing and the Six Sigma administration by command-control promoted by GE, it is important to understand the structural differences between these two business approaches.

Lean TQLSystems vs. Six Sigma Way – Defining What is What

To understand this better, let’s begin with some simplified definitions, starting with Six Sigma. Six Sigma is many other things beyond high stress and command-and-control from top to down. It is strictly a statistical program (establishing the maximum of 3.4 defects per million parts produced).

It is also a set of tools (GR & R, Stats descriptive, regression, DOE, etc.), a system for identifying and solving problems in the processes (e.g., DMAIC, PIDOV, DMADV), but is also a command-control management philosophy and highly stressful.

Lean TQLSystems or Lean Production, on the other hand, is all the things mentioned above for Six Sigma, except the stress and statistics. Lean TQLSystems and Lean also use a set of tools (PDSA, eKanban, ERP, Poke-Yoke, Andon, VSM, Standardization, Intense Visual Factory, etc…), but applies these with a much more personal focus.

Lean TQLSystems is a process that usually begins with personal changing of attitude, using 5s (sort, set, sweep, standardize and sustain) and PDSA (plan, do, study and act) to solve problems (which we call challenges) at all levels.

Lean TQLSystems use the vision or systemic approach of Total Quality introduced by Dr. E. Deming (PDSA, SPK) and Kaizen (change incrementally and continuously for the better).

Lean TQLSystems is an essential philosophy or management involving all, from the CEO to the janitorial staff, with a focus on a business participative leadership where clients/customers always come first, where workers have the right attitude and practice, and where, continuous improvement, transformation and innovation are relentlessly and decisively stimulated.

The best definition of Lean TQLSystems is to put the client / customer first in everything, having the right attitude and do the right thing right, at the lowest cost, at the first time, with zero waste, maximum results and efficiency, passionate with total quality, always changing, transforming and innovating.

Lean TQLSystems vs. Six Sigma Way – Difference in Results

Both approaches can be applied successfully. However, the results obtained in terms of always putting the customer  first, have the right attitude, eliminating waste, and engagement / involvement of employees (we call ACI – Agent of Changes and Innovation) in achieving the vision, mission, values and strategic objectives ( short, medium and long term) of the company differ from one another completely.

There are also obvious differences between the tools used in each method, although the processes implemented have some similarities to each other. For example, Kaizen can be mapped through the steps of DMAIC or vice versa.

So what is the difference between Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma? The biggest differences can be found when Lean TQLSystems or Six Sigma is applied predominantly as the only way to manage the business, company and / or enterprise.

Both include training as an essential component, but there is a profound difference between the approaches used and the stress generated in the system.

Although both Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma set as a basic requirement to have professionals being trained to be successful, Lean TQLSystems adds two additional values in training which are not in Six Sigma.

Two central concepts of a Lean TQLSystems culture are to have 1) ACIs trained to have the correct attitude and 2) a focus on multitasking which enable all workers to operate in virtually all functions within the company. The ACIs are cross-trained in the processes of daily work, not just specifically in Lean TQLSystems tools.

These are important distinctions in implementing Lean TQLSystems programs. A workforce trained in the correct multifunctional attitude, is essential in reducing stress at the workplace, as well as, doing job rotations, which maintain a high level of enthusiasm of ACIs and at the same time cuts the root of the natural tediousness, fatigue, bad mood, work related diseases and natural boredom that inevitably comes to one who does the same thing every day.

Lean TQLSystems vs. Six Sigma Way – Time and Performance Measurements

Another significant difference becomes evident in the use of measurements of time and performance. Both Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma emphasize performance measurements, but the approaches are diametrically opposed.

Six Sigma aims to measure the process performance in direct relation to the problem being worked on as the most important measures of business success through dashboards. It is therefore very project level oriented.

These dashboards are generated by pushy command-and-control or top-down style and the process rarely involves or reaches factories production areas or shop floor. Thus, workers do not really know how and why they are doing their jobs.

Lean TQLSystems, on the other hand, focuses on the measurement on the shop floor and places leaders and ACIs in the production areas or what the Japanese call Gemba, we call Batente – the real work place – to help, train and see for themselves how things are going.

This boosts performance measurements from bottom to top, starting with the work cell and proceeding to the plant and the top level. This is obtained by the mandatory practice of the concept of visual factory or signaling of all that is happening in the workplace or Batente.

The idea is that the effectiveness of Visual factory should be so perfect that a person with one eye covered could go fast on a bicycle through the plant and in the end will be able to tell what is happening in the production hall. Everything has to be seen and be obvious to all.

These different approaches illustrate the main difference between the philosophies Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a philosophy of command from top to bottom that only occasionally involves the production areas whose main practitioners are mid-level managers and engineers, while Lean TQLS is a bottom-to-top management system that integrates all employment levels

Lean TQLSystems Way – Leader Must Be a Server

The Six Sigma improvement projects are chosen for performance analysis at a high level and imposing changes down the throats of the workers, almost no involvement of those who actually do the work.

Lean TQLSystems, on the other hand, is characterized by the idea that the leader should be to serve, assist and train the ACIs, because he is naturally one of them. Everything is based on the correct attitude and participative leadership where everything is done and moved with customers first in everything and with leaders whose main function is to do everything to enhance the success of ACIs (workers).

Leaders of Lean TQLSystems go to the areas of production, processing or Batente where the work actually happens to see what’s going on, helping, applying continuous improvements and training all ACIs to succeed on their tasks.

Unlike Six Sigma, the vast majority of training in Lean TQLSystems companies are made in the work environment or learning-doing and helping everyone succeeds in their functions. The successful of one is the success of all, and vice versa.

For this to be achieved continuously, leaders and all the ACIs have to have the right attitude, value and implement communication skills, continuous training and promote learning at all times and occasions possible.

Another fundamental difference between Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma is the focus given to internal competition between workers. Unlike Six Sigma, Lean TQLSystems aims to eliminate internal competition and encourage the maximum cooperation and group achievement.

Who has implemented Six Sigma or worked in the GE Jack Welch time knows how this management encourages fierce internal or domestic competition between workers and the resulting high stress caused to all employees, their morale and damaging teamwork.

It’s like snake swallowing snake where the famous laws of the jungle reigns. That is, the means do not matter; the important thing is to arrive first. Success may be attained, but the damage it does to the spirit of the workers and team, as a whole, is devastating.

On the other hand, Lean TQLSystems continuous improvement initiatives and innovations start from the bottom up primarily at the individual ACI and his attitude or his/her relentless desire and determination as a member of a work cell, to change, transform and innovate his/her own work .

Moreover, there is another striking difference between Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma at the leadership level.

Lean TQLSystems Way – Bond of Mutual Trust between ACIs and Leaders

With Lean TQLSystems Leadership being extremely focused on attitude and communication, this creates conditions that allow ACIs always to have an excellent and improved performance, with a bond of mutual trust or as a sacred contract that is built between ACIs and leaders.

This contract implicit implies that the continuous improvements suggested, tested, implemented and adopted by Lean TQLSystems, it will not result in dismissal and loss of jobs.

It is like a kind of moral super glue that creates strong and lasting bonds of trust, mutual respect and dignity for all. Everyone knows that thanks to this sacred bond when fewer ACIs are required in a work cell, they are not given the pink slip, but relocated to other areas of the company.

Six Sigma, by other hand … Well, leave it for someone who has already implemented this management system in his/her company to talk about the experience….. as they became unemployed … and henceforth …

Lean TQLSystems Way – Are You Thinking of Implementing a Continuous Improvement Program?

Of course there are many more differences between management Lean TQLSystems and Six Sigma, but the above are basic core differences and we hope that can help you in making the initial decision about which system to use in your program / project of Continuous Improvement and Innovation.

If you are thinking about or interested in to implement in your business in a program of continuous improvement and innovation, reducing waste, have a lean production or attaining the most with the least, click here and send us a message in the comments at the end of article with your coordinates and we will contact you.

Source: Lean TQLSystems vs. Six Sigma Way – The Results Make All the Difference

Micro-AquaBioPonics: Producing Organic Food in Your Garage

Micro-AquaBioPonics – Is it possible to produce fish and fresh, organic and healthy components of your choice salad (such as various types of lettuce, spinach, endive, arugula, cucumber, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, watercress, basil, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro, chives, onion, chili or what inspiration you choose) in your school, office, garage, porch or even inside your kitchen?

To refresh your mind and if you have been with us in our sites, we have shown in several articles of the versatility of the Integrated Sustainable AquaBioPonics Systems to produce high quality organic food in almost any environment on this planet.

Micro-AquaBioPonics – Integrating Sustainability in Your Kitchen

To understand what is AquaBioPonics you’ve probably heard of aquaponics systems which is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics which allows vegetables and fish production, all at the same time, using a closed system.

Micro-AquaBioPonics - MABPS System in our Garage and Super Aziza

Micro-AquaBioPonics - MABPS System in our Garage and Super Aziza

AquaBioPonics in turn goes far beyond by making the sustainable integration of aquaculture, hydroponics, bio-fertilizers, beneficial insects, rain water harvesting, solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, small live stock farming, microorganisms, vermiculture, land gardening in order to actually reincorporate everything that the system produces – recycling, reusing, renewing – just as nature does in the continuous cycle of life.

Of course we cannot always put into operation all components of AquaBioPonics systems, but it is important to know that AquaBioPonics systems use controlled environments where the same water is reconditioned, reused and re-circulated continuously using all or just some of the components mentioned above.

Micro-AquaBioPonics – High Quality Organic Food in Your Garage

However, the trend of self-food production, global demand for healthy food , as well as, the assurance of food security against any environmental accident have led people worldwide to adopt organic practices and sustainable urban and rural production of food in their own homes.

Is this possible?

Well, to achieve this goal we’ve implemented the Integrated Sustainable AquaBioPonics Food Production Microsystems – MABPS – which is a micro version of the our medium and large scale technologies.

Thus, you can now equip your garage, garden, porch or kitchen, using minimal space and water, with micro units MABPS to produce its full salad, some fruit and your every day holy fish in front of your eyes.

And most importantly, you can go back or become a modern urban farmer, in the 21st century within your own home using this super efficient technology, while extremely simple to operate as long as you have the right training and capacitating.

This is one more option to equip families and communities with systems that give them independence and food security in a world so devoid of high quality organic food without chemicals so harmful to our health.

Think of the ease of collecting the components of your super fresh salad lunch or dinner in your own kitchen, garage or yard nurturing yourself and your family with plant and animal proteins you really know the origins, how they were grown and easily harvested daily.

Well, to show how this is possible we will bring in  following articles facts, examples running systems (such as this that you are seeing the picture of this post) of micro-Aquabioponics that have been implemented in garages, porches, kitchens and schools in the United States and in various parts of the world. Hold on there …


Jatropha Program Thriving with 100,000+ Trees Planted

Jatropha: By: Michelle Lacourciere, Director, Sirona Cares Foundation

Jatropha - Sirona Funding Nurseries Haiti
Jatropha – Sirona Funding Nurseries Haiti (Source: Sirona Cares)

Jatropha – It’s amazing what happens to a community when you give them options for a better future. It is exciting, and incredibly rewarding. Since 2009 we have been working with rural Haitians and refining our Jatropha Program.

Because Haitians developed the plan there is a strong sense of ownership and pride associated with the work of planting these trees.

Jatropha is a shrub that produces non-edible fruit. The seeds of this fruit are rich in oil, and this oil is extracted with a mechanical press.

Once pressed the oil does not need further refining to run in most diesel engines (generators, trucks, tractors, etc.). Jatropha oil can be mixed with diesel fuel.

This will bolster the economics in rural areas, and lower carbon emissions in Haiti. As if this isn’t enough, the byproduct of the pressing process (seedcake) can be compressed into an alternative charcoal briquette. This will also generate income in rural Haiti and protect the vulnerable island from further deforestation.

Jatropha – Today We Have over 1,000 Participating Farmers in Southern Haiti

Today we have over 1,000 participating farmers in southern Haiti and over 100,000 trees have been planted. Hillsides have been bolstered, soil improved, and no food displaced by the process because we either inter crop Jatropha at safe distances or use it as a border crop (because animals do not eat it).

Each of these trees should yield enough seed to create a gallon of oil each year. If we assume the price of a gallon of oil to be $5.00, that means these communities will bring in $500,000 a year. Jatropha lives 25-45 years, so in 25 years these communities will have made $12.5 million dollars. The proposition is exciting, and encouraging.

More encouraging was the news we received from the JDT Foundation last month. Named for Joseph Dennis Thomas, the Foundation focuses upon improving education, the environment and the economics in Haiti.

Sirona is honored to have received grants from the JDT Foundation which will pay for the planting of our next 100,000 trees in 2012. In addition, another grant from Dupont will allow us to plant even more trees and begin the process of producing jatropha oil this spring.

It has taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it is gratifying to see the difference that Haitians are making. The program is run as a partnership with Sirona funding nurseries to generate seedlings, and the trees are then planted voluntarily by farmers to help improve their land.

We are always looking for ways to create even more sustainability, so this past year we allowed 10 farmers to “borrow” $50 each to extend their farms. Rather than be repaid in cash we elected to have these farmers pay back the debt in food to the local school’s lunch program.

Many thanks to the JDT Foundation, to Dupont, and to our supporters who have gotten our friends in Haiti this far.

Previously Posted by Michelle Lacourciere in the Sirona Cares Foundation Blog

Growing Algae: The Necessity of Nutrient Optimization in Algae Cultivation

Growing Algae – By: Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab) and Dr. Aecio D’Silva.

Growing Algae in Open Ponds

Growing Algae in Open Ponds (click to enlarge)

Growing algae is easy, right? Just let your swimming pool or pond sit for a couple of days with enough sunlight and some algae will start appearing. You will probably even get a decent amount of biomass out (more than what you want if you need to clean it out).

However, maintaining a healthy algal culture at its maximum productivity is not as straightforward as one initially expects. From a biochemical standpoint you actually do need a long list of chemicals (nutrients) to be optimized to keep your culture ‘happy’.

Besides having enough light and optimal temperature and pH, growing algae require carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and a long list of trace amounts of minerals in the water.

The three main nutrients for growing algae are essentially carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorous (P). For the most part there are enough of the other minerals present in the water that there is not much need for supplementation when the culture is started.

However once the culture is growing healthy and ‘blooming’ these other mineral metals need to be closely monitored and optimized as well.

Growing Algae: Less Input = Lower Cost

We generally have a gross idea of how much of the nutrients are required for growing algae, however if you ask most people in the field if they optimized their media for cost input versus biomass output you will find that most of them have not put forward the time and investment to fully analyze this.

Nevertheless this is a very important factor and can save a significant amount on fertilizer inputs on a large scale. Most people have analyzed the cost of their carbon input (e.g. from CO2), but there is for example an optimal N to P ratio that is species dependent which is often not considered.

Growing Algae:Recycle N and P: Necessity, not a Choice

When growing algae for oil production there is one important factor about nutrients to consider. The carbon is really what ends up in your product. The lipids are essentially composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

The N and P are used in the synthesis of the machinery (proteins and DNA) that allows the algae to grow and synthesize the lipids, but they end up as part of the “left-over” biomass after extracting the lipids. Basically N and P can be seen as catalysts that can be recovered from the lipid extracted algae (LEA).

Theoretical calculations show that there is simply not enough fertilizer to grow algae (or other biofuel crops) as a fossil oil replacement if one doesn’t recycle the N and P. The recycling or reuse of the N and P has been promoted as a ‘natural’ part of the process of large scale algal cultivation by several groups; however it is often overlooked, underestimated or unknown that this will come with a certain cost.

Depending on your extraction process it is important to understand what chemical form your N and P end up in, and if this is a form that can be directly reused by the algae, or is there need for a ‘conversion’ step.

Wastewater is a good source of free nutrients for algae cultivation that can significantly reduce the operation cost of growing algae systems. One caution with wastewater is the presence of organic substrates which could lead to higher risk of contamination of the algae by heterotrophic bacteria.

As we posted before, depending on the wastewater source, there may also be a need for an alternative primary cleanup step, which will need to feed into the overall life cycle analysis.

Growing Algae: Lessons from Nature

Nutrient recycling is not a new concept. In natural ecosystems all nutrients are essentially recycled in what is known as a biogeochemical cycle. The chemicals are recycled, although in some cycles there may be places (called reservoirs) where they may reside for years before they are reused. Often this is the time it takes for a natural conversion to a usable chemical form.

The key factor in these processes is time. The algae biofuels industry needs to come up with clever, green, sustainable ways speed up this recycling process.

One way, is to use Aquafuelsponics systems to apply what we’ve learned from nature and optimize the nutrient recycling process in an intelligent design that makes it biochemically feasible to reuse the N and P directly in the algae cultivation  systems.

AquaFuelPonics = Aquaculture + Biofuels + Hydroponics

Systems AquaFuelsPonics or just FuelsPonics allows you grow healthy food and biofuels feedstock. It is the synergetic integration of the production of fish (normally tilapia), bio-fertilizer, hydroponic plants (vegetables and other produce), biogas and algae for biofuels (large-scale systems) in a controlled environment where the water is continuously recycled and re-circulated.

This is an approach that could help algae for biofuels growers look at the overall picture and think outside the box for a sustainable solution.  However, some refining and test pilot work needs to be done before utilizing these and other current approaches on a massive scale.


Related Links:

Microorganisms – Heroes or Villains?

Microorganisms – By: Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab) and Dr. Aecio D’Silva.

Microorganisms - Heroes or Villains?

Microorganisms – Heroes or Villains?

All of us have been plagued at some point in time with the little critters, whether it’s getting sick with a bacterial cold, hard-to-kill mold, or a pool covered with slimy algae scum. We generally refer to these as pests or germs of whatever bad name comes to mind. Are they Heroes or Villains?

We tend to forget that there are millions of microorganisms that are not harmful to us at all, but in a lot of cases are beneficial to our existence.

Think for example of gut bacteria such as E. coli present in humans and bacteria in the rumen of cows that are crucial to digestion.

In a broader sense, microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and algae have the capability to make carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids to high amounts with minimal inputs. Often all is needed is water, air and sunlight. Try surviving on just that with our human bodies.

The human genome is full of very efficient enzymes and traits that are tuned to break down these biomasses into biological energy, but we’re not equipped to perform these basic assimilatory tasks.

Over the years, scientists have found clever ways to take advantage of these critters and their superior capabilities. We are currently using fermentation with microorganisms on a large industrial scale for higher value chemicals and products: e.g. fermentation of hops into beers or corn mash into ethanol.

Not only are we using the naturally occurring organisms, in the last decade there have been an explosion of industrial use for genetically engineered organisms. We have recently posted articles on the history of genetic engineering and using GE for algal biofuel production. However the list of ongoing experiments and development of novel GMO’s is growing constantly.

Microorganisms – Social Microbes

What we can learn from microorganisms like algae is not only limited to the specific traits they have or what we can develop them to have. In the last couple of years there has been an increasing interest in how bacterial and algal communities can communicate.

Even though these organisms are all individual cells, they have developed clever ways to signal to each other, which in the end benefits the whole group. Scientists are interested in how these critters can collectively gather information about their environment and find an optimal path to growth.

The communication between organisms occurs through chemical and mechanical means. Most microorganisms are capable of “chemosensing” where they can detect certain chemicals in the environment and determine whether or not it is beneficial for growth to stay in that environment or to swarm away to a different area.

The interaction will increase when the cells find themselves in less favorable environments, which signals to the entire group to swarm to a new area.

Often these organisms are capable of forming so called “biofilms”, where the group as a whole can colonize a certain surface area. This provides a protective mechanism for the entire community.

If you find some resemblance in this to animal and human behavior, you’re not the only one. Scientists are now further analyzing such basic forms of communal behavior in the hopes that it can be applied to artificial intelligence and group behavior of robots.

Microorganisms – GE Microbes: the Cheapest Labor for Your Business

No doubt that we can learn more from these little critters, both on a social and biochemical level. We will certainly continue to use these organisms in the coming decades for production of our everyday chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Especially with novel technologies that are designing more “tailor-made” synthetic genomes we are sure that many more microbial-based innovations are on the horizon.

Interesting is that when these organisms are being used in new and existing industrial processes, they are often at the core of the business model. We are depending on these tiny ‘production machines’, which are often fed only minimal inputs to reduce costs, worked until they are exhausted and then extracted for all their products. And they do it all without complaining or asking for a raise.

Next time you think about bugs you might be a bit more thankful.


Genetic Engineering: Enhancing Biofuel Production

Genetic Engineering – By: Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab) and Dr. Aecio D’Silva.

Genetic Engineering – Depending on whom you ask the definition of genetic engineering (GE) can vary quite a bit. Some define it as changing an organism’s DNA to make it incorporate certain traits, however in a broader sense, genetic engineering has been going on for a very long time in the form of selective breeding.

Most current articles on the topic you’ll find actually define GE as going into a cell and changing its genome by inserting or removing DNA, which is a very new technology.

Genetic Engineering – The safety of GE Crops for Human Consumption

Modern genetic engineering began in 1973 when Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen used enzymes to cut a bacteria plasmid and insert another strand of DNA in the gap.

Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering

Since those experiments the concept of genetic engineering has been revolutionized around the globe.

The debate about the safety of genetic engineered crops for human consumption is still a heated one and although in 1992 the FDA already declared that genetically engineered foods are “not inherently dangerous” and do not require special regulation, many other countries in the world are taking a more skeptical approach.

In 1986, the first field tests of genetically engineered plants (tobacco) were conducted in Belgium, but it wasn’t until 1994 that the European Union’s first genetically engineered crop, tobacco, was approved in France.

Monsanto BT corn is another prime example of how GE provided farmers with higher yields by reducing loss from insect damage; improving grain quality by reducing contamination from mycotoxins; and supplying farmers with an efficient, easy-to-implement pest management option.

Although in public opinion, the motivations for its use are still controversial, recent studies show that Bt corn has saved Midwest farmers in the US billions of dollars.

The public controversy of using GE appears to be limited to food crops or large scale outdoor cultivation. However, using GE for research and development of novel therapeutics or industrial production of chemicals is generally seen as innovative and better accepted by the public.

For example, we have been able to make bacteria that produce human insulin for diabetics (which previously had to be isolated from livestock). In 1982, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first genetically engineered drug, Genentech’s Humulin, a form of human insulin produced by bacteria. This was the first consumer product developed through modern bioengineering.

However when the concept is taken one step further one can imagine the concept of human genetic engineering, which is the alteration of an individual’s genotype to select the phenotype (=characteristic trait) of a newborn or changing the existing phenotype of a child or adult.

Although this technology is still very premature and generally considered science fiction, the concept is very promising to cure diseases with a genetic origin. Needless to say that there are numerous ethical issues that come up with this concept.

Genetic Engineering – The Use of GE for Enhanced Biofuel Production from Biomass

Less futuristic and more relevant to AEC-L is the use of GE for enhanced biofuel production from biomass. Current research by groups active in this field is focused on using the power of GE to improve the biofuel yield of a specific crops (e.g. algae or jatropha) or incorporating the ability to produce biofuels to high level in easy to grow target species (e.g. bacteria or yeast that produce and tolerate high levels of EtOH butanol, or lipids).

This is done by manipulating genes in specific pathways and/or incorporating specific DNA fragments into target species. In a lot of cases we are still at the point of developing the tools to manipulate the target species, but recent breakthroughs are showing a lot of promise on a lab to pilot scale.

For example E. coli has been manipulated to tolerate higher levels of alcohols and produce simple alkanes (lipids). Algae have been engineered to excrete the lipids or EtOH they produce to allow for easier extraction.

However, in pretty much all of these cases we still have to overcome challenges with economic scalability and further optimization through GE is necessary and expected. In addition, even when for example a ‘superalgae’ can be engineered, we have already cautioned for the public perceptions and potential hazards that could arise when using these on a large scale (Algae GMO’s: The Next Big Challenge in Algae for Biofuels?)

As usual we believe at AEC-Laboratories that innovation is the key to pushing the renewable energy solutions forward. The power of GE will play a crucial role in developing solutions that are truly economically and environmentally sustainable.

Source:   Genetic Engineering: A Brief Overview

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Green Algae for Biofuels and Genetic Engineering

Green Algae for Biofuels – By: Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab) and Dr. Aecio D’Silva.

Green Algae for Biofuels and Genetic Engineering

Green Algae for Biofuels and Genetic Engineering

Green algae for biofuels – Green algae possess several unique features that are important for biofuel production. For example the ability to accumulate large amounts of TAGs (triacylglycerol lipids) for biodiesel production or hydrocarbons for biojetfuel. Other species are able to produce ample storage starch that can be used for bioethanol production.

The problem we are facing is that the algal species that are growing very fast and produce a lot of biomass are not the species that produce most the lipids or starch. Species from all over the world are being screened to find high oil or sugar production. It is however very unlikely that one algal species will have all the characteristics required for biofuel production.

One approach is to increase a certain species ability to produce more lipids or sugars by using genetic engineering (GE) for green algae for biofuels.

In simple terms, GE is the introduction of DNA from one organism into another organism to enhance certain features of the host organism.

For example, in theory we are able to take genes from algal species that produce a lot of lipids and engineer them into a fast growing algal species and get ‘the best of both worlds’.

Green Algae for Biofuels and GE- Challenges We are Facing

Two challenges that researchers face are 1) finding which genes that need to be transferred, and 2) developing the tools to modify a certain algal species.

As the interest in the green algae for biofuels topic has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, significant progress is being made to overcome these challenges. Many improvements have been realized, includingincreased lipid and carbohydrate production, improved H2 yields,and the diversion of metabolic intermediates into fungiblebiofuels.

However, genetically modified algae (or GMO algae) are still confined to a handful private sector labs and a few academic institutions and a widely distributed superior GMO algae is likely to be a while away.

On a research and development scale, genetic for green algae for biofuels approaches can aid in understanding the regulation of algal lipid metabolism and carbon partitioning under different growth conditions. Lessons learn from that will aid in modifying the accumulation of lipids, alcohols,hydrocarbons, sugars, and other energy storage compounds, which in the end will be crucial to render the green algae for biofuel concept economically viable.

Even when a species is created that has increased biofuel features there are potential drawbacks on genetic engineering of green algae for biofuels. It is expected to weaken its ecological fitness. When used in scaled up systems it is critical that the GE organism is kept healthy and dominant.

By clever engineering we can design species that only have the advantage under a controlled system. This approach is a similar to the use of E. coli, which is a natural human intestinal bacterium that is now widely used for research and commercial industrial applications.

This is the reason why in our research we try to focus on non-GMO technologies for manipulating algae and at the same time design attenuated algae that cannot grow outside a cultivated environment.

As mentioned in our blog earlier there are definitely challenges beyond the technical hurdles (Algae GMO’s: The Next Big Challenge in Algae for Biofuels?. In the long run, a lot of regulatory and political challenges will arise with the use of GMO of green algae for biofuels  on a larger commercial scale.

It is therefore important to use the genetic tools described above to engineer the selected algae in such a manner that the competitive advantage of the new species is maintained under controlled conditions.

Every day we and other researchers are getting closer to unraveling the details of these algal for green algae for biofuels systems and are developing engineering strategies. In the end, a combination of innovative genetic engineering and non-GMO technologies will be necessary to take algae for biofuels to the next level.

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Biokerosene: Arriving at World Aviation

Biokerosene: Arriving and Making a Revolution in World Aviation

Biokerosene: Long before biofuels had the visibility and acceptance they have today, we have written, promoted and disseminated in our training courses, lectures, seminars, books and papers what we call ‘biofuel revolution’.

Lufthansa Biokerosene Flights

Lufthansa Biokerosene Flights (click to enlarge)

A few years ago we wrote an article on this subject that generated repercussions in the industry with opinions both favorable and not so positive. Some even said this would never be a reality.

We remember clearly when, at the beginning of the last decade, we said that biofuels could be made from waste processing tilapia, very few believed it. However, we never give up a good idea, even if it implies overcoming some challenges.

We develop general and specific sites (,, aimed at disseminating information and promoting the sustainable production of biofuels at all possible levels.

We affirm and reaffirm that if done correctly, the peaceful revolution of Biofuels has the potential to completely transform and change the primary sector and positively impact the entire global economy.

Today we see that slowly but surely, this new highly active and important sector is gradually taking shape, with the prospective to transform and boost agricultural and aquaculture industries globally.

One of the fast growing potentials we observed it is the capability of supplying biokerosene to the airline industry. A market worth around $ 100 billion per year that is now open to renewable fuels.

What we have observed is that after years of ups and downs producing more thunder than lightning, the commercial production of Biokerosene for civil aviation industry worldwide is slowly becoming a fact, starting with production on several continents.

Candidates of Raw Materials for Production of Aviation Biokerosene

The leading candidates of raw materials for biokerosene aviation are jatropha, camelina, algae and greasy residues. Each of these sources has its ardent supporters.

Recently a Mexican airline company made the first flight in Latin America biokerosene using the base oil of Jatropha curcas flying from Mexico City to the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez in the southern state of Chiapas.

In this technological stage none of these candidates of raw materials can produce at a price approaching that of fossil fuel aviation Jet A-1.

However, it is only a matter of time that with additional research and large investments prices will become competitive in the market.

When we look at the emerging picture of biofuels and biokerosene, it is increasingly clear that, although the United States and Brazil are major producers of renewable energy currently in the form of ethanol, many other countries are entering this race.

In March this year a European consortium Airbus, the Romanian state airline Tarom, UOP Honeywell and CCE (Camelina Company) announced plans to establish a center for the production of biokerosene in Romania for the production of bio-jet fuels for civil aviation, using camelina as raw material.

Recently, China National Petroleum Corp. announced that it delivered 15 tonnes of jatropha oil to help Air China to make biofuel-powered flight tests, scheduled for later this year. And just last year Boeing announced a collaboration with the Qingdao Institute of BioEnergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) to establish a joint laboratory to accelerate microalgae-based aviation biofuels research.

This week, the Mozambique information agency announced that a local company headquartered in the UK, exported to the German airline Lufthansa, the first batch of 30 tonnes of jatropha oil produced in the Mozambican province of Manica.

In Brazil, the aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer announced plans to jointly finance a sensitivity analysis to investigate the possibility of producing renewable fuel by air from the Brazilian sugar cane.

The study will also be financed by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), and will evaluate the environmental effects of fuel produced by an international company from sugar cane in Brazil.

However, as shown on our website, history and greater stimulus to accelerate the development of biofuels for aviation occurred in July this year, when the ASTM International announced the approval of its standard fuel Bio-SPK, allowing the use of hydro – treated renewable jet (HRJ) Jet A-1 fuel in commercial aviation.

This has established the feasibility of bio-jet fuels to be mixed at a ratio of 50-50 with Jet A-1 fuel derived from traditional fossil fuels.

Acceptance Challenges For A Large-Scale Bio-Kerosene Aviation

Currently, the biggest challenge for acceptance in a wide range of aviation biofuel is its high cost. Biokerosene delivered last year for the U.S. military to assess the absurd cost of over U.S. $ 70 per gallon.

Of course, these prices have no way to be competitive with fuel derived from traditional sources of hydrocarbons.

However, we all know that processing costs will decrease in direct proportion to the achievement of volume production on a large scale.

As is well known worldwide, both Brazil and the United States have supported the production of biofuel at market values, ??practiced in the form of ethanol. In the case of Brazil derived from sugar cane, in the United States produced from corn.

Even though the production is for ground transportation, the two countries are capable of being leaders in biojetfuels also.

This shows that the technology is in place, the product has been certified and at the end of the day, the Brazilian and American groups are talking about an agricultural product which ideally, depending on where it is planted, can produce one or even two crops per year. Or in the case of algae, double its biomass every day.

With these two and other countries and producers such as Boeing, Airbus and Embraer entered in full speed in the promotion of biojetfuels production, we have plenty of opportunities to see prices fall and the biofuels revolution actually happening in the civil aviation industry and military.

In practice we have a huge, multibillion dollar market for jet fuel open to farmers in both agriculture and aquaculture areas. Opportunities like that cannot be wasted.

By: Dr. Aecio D’Silva, CEO Moura Technologies and Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab)