From growing in the garage to space, self-sufficient bio-food technologies?

Marlena Stefaniuk, Kamil Jasiński AKWARIA-DECORATIONS-GARDENS sp. Z oo

It is known that plants at home are better air and well-being, but fewer people already know that you can grow plants without soil.

Marlena Stefaniuk: Yes, that’s true. Thanks to a little imagination, water and the addition of mineral supplements, you can grow not only flowers at home, but also vegetables, fruits, herbs and sprouts. This is a technology that has long been known, popularly called hydroponics .

Kamil Jasiński: The advantage of this method over traditional cultivation is the fact that we run it under controlled conditions, using a fixed dose of fertilizers, and we are not affected by problems with watering. Hydroponic technology is a great field for home experiences, but it remains rather a curiosity than a real product. However, this may change soon!

On the occasion of aquarium fish farming, you have developed an aquaponic installation (a combination of fish farming and hydroponics) with home recycling of bio-waste. Three revolutionary eco-technologies in one place?

MS: Yes!

KJ: The installation has the advantages of traditional hydroponics, but in addition aquarium water is a great source of fertilizer for plants. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, humic acids, useful microflora, so basic nutrients for plants. Thanks to this synergy, no additional artificial macro-fertilizers are needed, and the aquarium is always clean and does not require water changes. This generates savings and increases ecological value.

These are still not all the advantages of your system?

KJ: Our goal was to add the effect of processing domestic biowaste to the system and generate additional fertilizer for plants by utilizing organic waste generated at home. In other words, we do not take bio-waste because they are “consumed” at home for growing your favorite plants. Even a stubborn opponent of segregation will finally notice that when throwing away bio waste, he actually deprives himself of energy and the possibility of using it for his own use, and he still has to pay for it!

However, is the popularization of home installations for the cultivation of own bio-food, fish farming with reuse of water and a home system for processing bio-waste into fertilizer form a lonely initiative?

KJ: Reducing water consumption is not only an interesting alternative, but also our duty to the planet, and domestic crops in cities are a priority postulate of the recent UN summit.

And could it be competition for the traditional central biowaste collection system?

KJ: Absolutely not, the Praga Południe district of Warsaw supports the initiative, and the installation is for now an experiment that shows how to easily solve several basic civilization problems at once! Waste management and the production of own bio-food is currently an innovative experiment, but soon it will be a necessity.

For now, the installation primarily educates and promotes the ideas of waste segregation, independence and self-sufficiency, and encourages experimentation with botany, water, composting. The installation works most effectively on a scale of several households, and there is an inexhaustible field for social integration and recreation activities in eco-projects. Closed biomass circulation in the circular economy and actions in line with the Zero Waste idea are a requirement that Europe sets for us today.

MS: Aquaristics can be a practical science of small closed ecosystems, animals, aquatic plants, physics, chemistry and biology, and these are tools for introducing knowledge to the sphere of experiments that may one day save the world.

Your company AKWARIA-DEKORACJE-OGRODY sp. Z o.o. has been operating since January 2016, but your experience with aquarium ecosystems goes much further, because of the last century

MS: At the beginning, we wanted to provide fish with excellent conditions, similar to natural ones.

KJ: Currently, the entire water cycle in farming, thanks to the cooperation of scientists from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences and the University of Warsaw, has been designed so that water is purified by the natural filtering properties of plants, and animal feed is produced on site as a side effect of waste treatment processes.

Is that all?

MS and KJ: No (laughs)

KJ: Thanks to heat recovery and energy storage, we maximize the energy efficiency of the building in which the farm is located. This futuristic work is a forward-looking unit of a company operating in a circular economy in a circular environment, from settlements to even projects for space missions …

Can you want something more?

MS: We are constantly experimenting with increasing the efficiency of water filtration and recycling technologies, but we are also experimenting in the subject of beneficial microorganisms that clean the environment.

Thank you for the fascinating conversation and good luck!

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