Nature Cycle (N.C)

Nature Cycle (N.C)

KenyaGoteborg, Sweden
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Nature Cycle (NC) provides food, clean air and water, energy and prevents CO2 emissions.Biowaste is the main fuel that powers our low-tech system. NC cleans waste water by extracting its potentials through biogas and sub surface crop irrigation, returning organic food and clean water to the system.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In developing countries, only 10% of waste water is collected, thus most of it is discharged un-treated to nature. Sanitation is at the core of ecologic resilience and societal progress. By the time government infrastructure covers this area, ecosystems will be devastated, making it even harder to progress. We are developing robust solutions, that adjust to every budget and context, to sanitize and reuse water, while providing food and energy.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

At the core of the solution is an efficient anaerobic digester that recovers energy potential from waste water. Ideal for a household or a whole community Wastewater and other bio-waste can be feed into a tailored tank where natural bacteria will transform pollutants such as organic matter into biogas, thus diminishing fuelwood demand. Remaining "inorganic pollutants" are removed via sub-surface irrigation by plant beds that also act as filters, where root system absorbs nutrients that enable productive agriculture even if water and resources are scarce. Finally, clean water can be discharged into nature or fed back into the system. Input: Polluted water. Output: clean water and organic food. System is optimized for lowest cost and high ROI
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Users of the NC are at the core of the cycle. Nature Cycle life promotes awareness of chemical usage since everything will be recycled in the form of crops and input water. Users can witness the transformation of waste into biogas and crops just by emulating natural pathways. NC provides food and energy for the household. Meanwhile, water gets cleaned through this simple and low-cost process, exempting it from additional (conventional) treatment. We have installed a couple of systems already, in opposite realities. In Kenya, the Kenswed Academy secondary school is already benefiting from sanitation through biogas recovery, though not yet with an improved digester type. In rural Sweden, a more integral version of the system is in use.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

From the few integrative biogas+ nutrient recovery solutions, none of them offer prices for the developing world. N. C. integrates direct nutrient recovery after anaerobic digester through plant bed infiltration, thus eliminating lifetime dependency on commercial reagents. Cook & SOAPI is similar initiative at pilot stage but based on a dome design and recovering only urine. However, UASB design like ours, offers a higher yield with less material and space. DeSaH BV offers anaerobic, decentralized solution that we like a lot. However, doesn't include nutrient reuse and local food production.
About You
Organization:
Emulsionen
About You
First Name

Ricardo

Last Name

Vita

About Your Project
Organization Name

Emulsionen

Organization Country

, Goteborg

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NA

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

In a rural semi-desertic area of Mexico, some small scale farmers were sentenced to prison for "stealing" municipal sewage water for their crops. This caused our indignation since the water was not going to be treated properly. Authorities argued that it was too risky to use this water for irrigation. Therefore, safe methods for waste water reuse is an urgent need and great possibility. But instead of pointing this fact our , we decided to act upon it. We were inspired by concepts from the Naturhus invented by Swedish architect Bengt Warne and have been developing simple and cost efficient technology to empower communities into building their own systems for safe waste water reuse since 2011.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sanitation and Hygiene, Nutrition, Water, Greenhouse Gases, Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Audience is wherever there is waste water, and need for food and sanitation; where people live basically. Any size: communities, farms, brewing or food industry. It makes sense for rich and poor to save money in basic needs such as water, energy and food. Each according to their possibilities. We engage stakeholders such as schools, companies, farmers and individuals to benefit from a larger scale common project. We empower through knowledge and open innovation, aiming at involving local start-ups

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

600 kids at boarding Kenswed Academy, Kenya are already benefiting from an early version of our solution. A rural household in Sweden has invested in our improved system to save the cost of a conventional treatment with the added value of harvesting great yield of fruits and vegetables. This house, Naturhuset Ecorelief, functions as our experimental and showcase pilot plant. We are taking systematic samples to evaluate water quality and better understand our system to improve it. We still need funding to continue testing and develop lower-cost components for the future systems. At present, we are engaged in building a new system for an eco-center near Stockholm and our plan for next year is to realize a system for the 400 boys at Lamu Boys Secondary School in coastal Kenya. We will monitor and provide necessary automatic control at every built system via low-tech, open source automation.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We collaborate with several firms, experts in complementary areas (architects, engineers,etc.), through open innovation in a registered org. (Naturhusföreningen). Emulsionen focuses on treating wastewater with biogas and nutrient recovery. We team with non-profits such as Engineers Without Borders and JAK Cooperative Bank. We have a planned schedule for this year, and with your support we will execute it. We need analytical instruments to monitor and prove the quality of our treated water in every system. Public and transparent data on our website is the legitimate marketing we need to get more participation.This grant will be fully invested in making this giant leap happen.With your counseling, we'll plan growth phase strategy. Join us !

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

We believe in shared value and complete transparency. Each project is fully planned with the stakeholders. They absorb the material costs and we agree on the costs of our labor according to the context. Profit from projects in rich countries can finance our efforts in the developing world, providing us with experience, positive attention. We also get revenue from workshops and consultancy projects in related topics to our expertise.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

In 2008-2009, as president of the Organization for Indigenous Towns (AEPI) in Mexico, our activities got included in the federal government agenda and budget until today (13000€/year). I have a patent in a food product (Chili-Raly), available in Monterrey market with a yearly turnover of ~19000 €. I sold the firm in 2011. I'm certified Entrepreneur by the Mexican Economy Agency and MSc Industrial Ecology with full grant from EU.