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Off-Grid Technologies

Overview

There have been several Solar-Powered circulation systems available for lake and reservoir management over recent years. Unfortunately, those systems have not adequately accounted for the nature, the limnology, of the waterbody. Pumping nutrient-rich bottom water to the sunlit surface is not the best way to reduce algae blooms and improve water resource quality! Using wind and solar energy for managing water quality in reservoirs and lakes is an excellent concept, but only when it drives an appropriate process. It is more effective to manage how thermal stratification develops then to destroy the thermocline, pump nutrients to the surface, and stimulate algae blooms.

Over the past three years Ecosystem Consulting Service has developed equipment that performs true Hypolimnetic Aeration and Layer Aeration, as well as Artificial Circulation, Expansion of the Epilimnetic Mixing Depth, and complete destratification using Wind and Solar Power (Patents Pending). You can use the oxygen produced by plants to aerate deeper water layers. You can "adjust where the thermocline forms" to reduce demands for dissolved oxygen. You can induce downward circulation patterns which eliminate the competitive advantage that the buoyant Bluegreen Algae (Cyanobacteria) have.

Renewable Energy

Solar Power can be collected by photovoltaic panels, stored by battery banks, and used to power compressors or impellers which drive any of the effective aeration and circulation methods for managing Lake or Reservoir water quality. Solar Power can be used to perform:

Downward Circulation of selected depth ranges; Layer Aeration of a specific depth range (e.g. for restoration of coldwater habitat for fish and zooplankton refuge; or for high quality Water Supply Withdrawal Layers); Hypolimnetic Aeration below the thermocline; Epilimnetic Expansion to avoid buoyant Cyanobacteria; and other methods that work in concert with the natural limnology of the waterbody. And these management approaches can be accomplished using solar power with no structures on the surface of the lake or reservoir!

Systems are also available that use Wind Power, or Hybrid Wind-Solar Power (US Pat 8,651,766).

All Ecosystem solar and wind powered methods work in concert with the nature of the lake or reservoir. System limnology is the primary design consideration!

Solar Aeration

Some Solar-Driven Aeration Systems have been touted as aerating the hypolimnion – when they actually destroy the thermocline and eliminate the hypolimnion. There have been claims that they “eliminate weeds” (rooted aquatic macrophytes) – no aeration system can be expected to reduce macrophyte abundance.

"If you emptied your refrigerator onto your kitchen countertop would your food spoil more quickly?"

That is the change in bottom temperature caused by destratification, and it is not good. It accelerates decomposition, increases oxygen demand, causes more nutrients to get into the surface water from sediments, and eliminates important habitat. Using solar power for lake management is an excellent “green approach” Using that energy to perform the wrong process is not. Solar power can drive more effective, ecologically sound techniques like Hypolimnetic Aeration and depth-specific Layer Aeration.

We can usually convert existing solar destratification aeration systems to Layer Aeration, Hypolimnetic Aeration, or other technique that works in concert with the Nature of the lake or reservoir. Effective Aeration Systems can be driven by Solar Power, Wind Power, Hydro Power, or the "Grid".

If you currently use a Solar Driven Circulator, a "Bubbler", or other equipment that destroys thermal stratification and would like to know if it can be modified to manage your lake or reservoir more effectively please contact us.

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