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Removal of Sediment, organics (herbicides/pesticides), arsenic from public water supplies and agricultural irrigation water.

Our natural biopolymer, chitin is the second largest natural resource (crab/shrimp shells) removes sediment, organics from water supplies.

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How does your idea apply new technologies to make agriculture and water systems more resilient in the face of climate threats?

Preserving every gallon of water is crucial. Removing contaminants (TSS, arsenic) and not adding any (herbicides/pesticides) is also crucial. Highly turbid (TSS) water clogs irrigation systems. Our biopolymer removes any level sediment to less than 10 mg/L and is 100% non-toxic and certified. Herbicides and pesticides can be replaced by coating crops with the same natural biopolymer. The biopolymer made from crab and shrimp shells causes NO impact to soil or water by using it.

In order to treat stormwater runoff, the chemistries had to be non-toxic and go through full toxicity testing to prove they would not harm even the most sensitive species in the rivers, lakes and estuaries. Our biopolymer has completed this rigorous testing and is now certified. Highly turbid water collected and used as a water supply can't be used until it is treated to meet either drinking or water quality criteria. We are able to treat high levels of TSS generated in water supplies from monsoons and heavy rain events in a short amount of time and remove TSS to well below 10 mg/L. The treated sediment is put back onto the fields as the biopolymer is also a good fertilizer. All water treated with it can directly enter even pristine estuaries as it is 100% non-toxic.
We harvest waste crab and shrimp shells around the world, convert them into a stable product (chitosan) that has a shelf life, then dissolve it into acetic acid (vinegar) made from sea water and electricity (wind power), and convert it into a liquid biopolymer. This biopolymer can be used to treat water, wastewater or be applied to crops to prevent decimation from bugs or insects and improve crop production without the use of herbicides or pesticides, naturally.

We can provide the biopolymer either in liquid form (1% or 1.5%) or dry form as a dry powder. We can build flowing water treatment systems either for stationary or mobile applications of any size, or passive floc socs where turbid water can flow by either by gravity or pumped through a floc soc and have the biopolymer dissolve and attach to the sediment and drop it out. Each 1-lb. floc soc can treat 100,000 gallons of water and a kit with 10 floc socs can do a  million gallons at a cost of $0.003/gallon for the kit and then replacement floc socs can treat water for $0.00092/gallon.

Local manufacturing of the biopolymer can be regionalized as crab and shrimp shells are harvested all around the world.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

By treated collected stormwater runoff, this simulates collected irrigation water containing high sediment that is an impediment to both drinking water and irrigation water. If we can pass high turbid water with sediment through a floc soc and demonstrate that it meets the need (remove TSS to low levels), is affordable and easy to use, it can then commercialize. The floc socs come in a kit

We are excited to learn about ideas at diverse stages of development. At what stage would you currently classify your idea as? (multiple choice)

  • Full Scale Roll-Out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the results. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.
  • Operating Business: I have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and am currently operating this idea as a business.

How do you plan to grow or scale this idea?

We have a significant global chitosan supply chain and can produce floc soc kits in large supply and different kit forms. We also are setting up manufacturing in house to make the biopolymer in both liquid and dry form. Global and regional manufacturing can be set up as we hold the IP. To deploy this technology, we are prepared to work with local groups and agencies to set up manufacturing of the biopolymer and educate on how to use it. The raw materials are available regionally.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

The economic model in America is on a $/gallon treated. This model may not be applicable outside of the U.S.A. or first world markets. Setting up waterpreneurs will be important and a business model will need to be developed. How to set up regional manufacturing will need to be figured out for each region.

This idea emerged from:

Having a working knowledge of polysaccharides (chitin) and its chemical/biological makeup was important and we were looking for a long chain of amines to bond to. Converting a waste to a resource is clean green sustainable. Using local resources to make the product is important, such as harvesting the waste material (crab and shrimp shells) locally, using sea water and electricity (from wind) to make chitosan was important and now it can be locally packaged up and deployed, also important.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a chemical engineer, career was in Silicon Valley. I chose water as a career in 1976 washing beakers in a State certified water lab. I saw enough impact to the environment during my 4 years there I switched career. I started out my professional career in San Jose, CA running a State Certified water lab, which led to a manufacturing career engineering and building water treatment systems. In 2004, I wrote a grant to the National Science Foundation and won four SBIR grants to develop new nanotechnology that could solve some of todays water problems. My proposal to the NSF was that what ever was developed would be able to treat enough water for one person for one year for one dollar.
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Attachments (2)

Lisa Farmen Chapter.pdf

GGU awarded me the Rising Star award for the most promising graduate within 10 years of graduation. The President of GGU at the time, Dan Angel had my story written after my acceptance speech and included me in "Profiles in Prominence."

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This is the floc soc passive treatment kit, which contains ten 1-pound floc soc cartridges, that can treat 100,000 gallons each and the kit can treat 1-M gallons of turbid water. The kit is now used in a robust plastic container with wheels, holds different fittings depending on the end customers application, a flex hose to mount the floc soc into and to be the "piping" for the water to flow through. In less than 10 seconds of contact time, the biopolymer dissolves and drops out TSS, safely.


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