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SUBWUM (Sustainable Urban Biodegradable Waste Utilisation Modules)

"is a process designed to absorb biodegradable waste streams and utilise energy
and nutrients for the production of a diverse range of saleable items and the
reduction of pollutants to acceptable social and environmental levels"

The Process:

Stage 1 - Biogas Digestion

Basically, biodegradable waste is added to enclosed chambers and decomposition occurs due to anaerobic (without oxygen) bacterial digestion.

Pollution levels decrease (up to 60%) in comparison with time and a rich compostable sludge and methane gas is produced which can be used for heating or electricity generation.

This method is used extensively in Southeast Asia as a cheap form of renewable energy for farmers.

United Kingdom water companies including Severn Trent Plc have operational plants and there are recorded instances for their use in Scandinavian countries.

Stage 2 - Microalgae Production

The liquid waste is channelled into a Photo Bio-reactor, an intensive algae production system situated in an enclosed controlled environment that absorbs excess nutrients by the cultivation of microscopic algae.

The algae production reduces the organic pollution sufficiently (30%+) to enable the output water to be of an optimum quality for aquaculture.

The harvested algae can be used as a food supplement for fish and plant culture.

Stage 3 - Ecologically Intensive Aquaculture

As the system is modular there is an opportunity to culture a variety of freshwater and saltwater species by enclosed re-circulation technology.

Previous biogas energy recovery enables higher air temperatures enabling the production of warmwater species. One such example is the culture of Tilapia, a native African herbivore which has a market value in the U.K The fish will be cultured in rows of innovative hanging bags of water stacked three tiers high.

Stocking densities of up to 30 kg/m2 will be practised to maximise production without compromising overall fish welfare

There are also many other examples of commercial species particularly saltwater shellfish which could be cultured in 'stand alone' systems.

Stage 4 - Hydroponic Horticulture

The term hydroponics is derived from the greek words hudor, water and ponos, work. When combined these mean water-working and reference to soil-less plant cultivation.

The waste water from the aquaculture modules contain acceptable levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorous for such cultivation, released in fish excreta and leached out of uneaten food.

These wastes will be used as an organic fertiliser in an aqueous solution for uptake via the rooting systems, an example being tomato crops.

Hydroponic horticulture will also utilise the majority of Carbon Dioxide produced during the brewing process.

Stage 5 - Reed Bed Treatment Systems

Also known as constructed wetlands.

All waste leaving the building will be directed to outdoor engineered reed beds forming wetland areas that host a medium for the growth of bacteria congregating around the rooting systems. These break down organic pollution to polish water to acceptable quality and in many cases, lower than regulatory discharge standards.

Such areas can also create valuable conservation reserves and increase local biodiversity.

Microbrewery Concept Images

The above computer generated images are an simulated impression of how such a system and it's building might be perceived.
Courtesy of Letts Wheeler, Architects

© 2013 Fishace