July 23, 2008 at 4:28 am #655
haha, nasty issue, but, I’m wondering if you can use human poop for anything. I think if this idea of Seasteading is going to be pursued, we should gather all the best green builders and engineers and see what they can come up with for using everything.July 23, 2008 at 7:32 pm #3494
In short, I don´t think it makes economical sense to do this unless it´s on a very large scale. And I´m sure there are loads of problems to overcome like human diseases, the yuck factor, et cetera.August 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm #3525
Actually, human waste can be put to good use using a “Living Machine”.
By using this method we can use our own waste to good use providing nutrients for the plants and some trees that we will need/have for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as herb and spice plants. There is also next to no contact with the waste once it gets past the toilet seat.
There are several web sites on the Living Machines and many of them are used today at school sites, home sites as well as village and town sites.August 16, 2008 at 11:35 am #3591
If we could copy/ licence/ buy the methane digester design in India to convert humanure into methane(natural gas) to power gas turbines or heat our homes and cook our food – there are studies on enzymes that suggest cooking our food is harmful to our health.
The Biolytix waste treatment system uses microorganisms to break down humanure. It accepts “blackwater” and releases liquid wormcastings suitable for fertigation (fertilising while irrigating).October 30, 2008 at 10:35 am #4091
One good way to deal with this issue is to use the human waste to grow redworms. The redworms digest the human waste and convert it into very valuale worm castings. I would not use these casting on root crops due to risk of contamination, but it should be fine for other crops, esp non-food crops. The worms themselves can be used to improve the soil of all crops grown as the are very good at tilling and aerating the soil (assuming you go organic, and I would). The bigger issue is getting the necessary space to grow anything on a seastead.November 1, 2008 at 11:57 am #4123
Organic takes more space than conventional agriculture. Space is a premium resource. One would almost certainly use some hydroponics…November 1, 2008 at 7:17 pm #4130
I have actually experimented with Hydroponics; it sounds good on the surface, but it requires a lot of chemical tests and I found it to be totally impractical. The fruit had no flavor and the plants had little resistance to insects or disease. Organics can give you very high yields in a small space without importing expensive chemicals. Basically, it is simpler, less expensive and more reliable. For whatever it is worth, that is my experience.
You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?November 6, 2008 at 11:06 am #4172
Space is still at a premium, and on anything more than a boutique scale, organic takes more space. People use fertilizer precisely because it increases yield per hectare. Grass-fed beef takes more space than grain-fed, even though the grass-fed is tastier (although most people have been conditioned away from the slightly gamier taste) as well as containing more nurtitive value such as omega 3 fatty acids.
I would imagine that the tastelessness of hydroponics has as much to do with varietal as it does with the method, though I am equally certain you have a point about the forced growth causing food to be less tasty and nutritious. Also, the inputs for organic agriuculture presuppose a fully-functioning ecosystem, while a seastead has minimal to none.November 6, 2008 at 3:54 pm #4173
Precisly because space is at a premium, we should do what we can to maximize its use. Having several species of fish living in the same area as several species of water plants will cut the need for pesticides and herbicides greatly, along with maximizing the efficient use of the limited space. Reprocessing everything possible will minimize the need for importation as well. I think this project is more than doable, and it can lead to a rethinking of how terrestrial space is also used.November 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm #4175
There are at least two other issues with waste.
Inorganic waste: We shouldn’t be tossing the stuff off our seasteads. Not only is it contaminating our living environment, but it’s horrible PR that this entire venture absolutely does not need.
Organic waste: You can say it’s biodegradable and not a big deal, but waste attracts fish and other sea life. This attracts larger predators who will learn to associate a seastead with food. This is bad.November 12, 2008 at 10:40 am #4235
Would you rather live in an area of ocean with no fish? The main problem is not enriching the local sea environment (you want to do that), but rather introducing biowaste that poisons local organisms or overwhelm the local ecosystem’s ability to handle the inputs in a balanced way.February 18, 2009 at 9:43 pm #5009
“Some studies are looking into the use of fish — specifically tilapia — as a way to recycle shower water, toilet waste and the water clothes are washed in. Tilapia eat human waste and are safe for human consumption afterward, said Vickie Kloeris, who manages the Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.”
Apparently tilapia can survive in brackish water. Perhaps we use gray water as ballast in the spars and farm tilapia within them?February 19, 2009 at 4:15 am #5010
Sounds like as good an idea as any. Good research here.July 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm #6813
Anerobic Digestion as a means of producing methane to power generators and heat for hydroponics growing plus the use of the digestate as a soil improver or when dried as a source of fedstock from small scale energy from waste system would be a workable solution for not only ‘poop’ but all organic waste.July 8, 2009 at 10:00 pm #6889
This seems like it has huge potential, then. Particularly if you use ballast tanks for it, as was recommended, which reduces the use of space. What kind of efficiency are we looking at? like, at what rate could a group of fish of a sane size process material?
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