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Commercial aquaponics offgrid, viable or not ?

Discussion in 'Commercial Systems' started by sandman2nv, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. sandman2nv

    sandman2nv New Member

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    G'day everyone I'm wondering weather or not commercial aquaponics is do-able on a 10kva of grid system using solar passive buildings set up as greenhouses using rainwater and 12vpumps. Disregard the market available, prices, what type of grow media and all of the other negativity just opinions on weather or not this is do-able please.

    Cheers
     
  2. Damian Simpson

    Damian Simpson New Member

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    From all the information I've been reading it seems like it would be possible, but very risky without a backup powersource, like a generator or grid power.
     
  3. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Yes, very possible, but as Damian says.....backup for the backup.
    It is a great goal to be off grid. It must happen more and more as time goes by.
    It will cost a lot more than being on grid, so I don't think it is viable economically, not yet anyway. As panel prices drop and battery technology improves it will become more commonplace I am sure.
     
  4. sandman2nv

    sandman2nv New Member

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    Thanks for your replies guys, because of my farming and mining background we are completely off grid already Murray (it's my way of giving a bit back), and Damian grid backup is not an option unfortunately....$$$$$, so through much trial and error, I have a back up generator with a Geet fuel system (google it), and another backup generator to that one, as well as wind turbines, so I'm hoping that what I am trying to achieve, can work without too many hiccups in that department. I'm using the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach.
    Prices for solar have dropped dramatically in the last five years, after they went up when the solar rebate came in Murray.
    As far as the K.I.S.S method goes. I'm reading about so many people losing all there fish because they had a set up that was way to complicated and had no backup, or there backup was just as complicated as there primary system was, and that's where K.I.S.S comes into it, it seems way to easy once you get rid of all the variables. I have what I think is a pretty good idea I just have to wait until the end of the year to start it is all, trials and tests and stuff.
    I see aquaponics as the future of food growth to the world, and I want in !!!!


    If you want to know more Murray feel free to drop me a line I've got a few ideas I'd like to bounce of you
     
  5. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Sandman,
    What ideas? Love to discuss them here in the thread.
    Fish losses are usually about human error. Well that is my experience anyway. We could have a whole discussion about "how many ways to kill your fish" It would be an epic discussion.

    I feel it is not long and we will be going off grid. In the long term it is the ideal.
     
  6. sandman2nv

    sandman2nv New Member

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    Hi Murray,
    I'm hearing you on the human error factor.
    The off grid thing is so rewarding but as I said there are trials and errors but when you get it right it feels fantastic to not have that power or water bill in the mail every couple of months.
    One of my ideas is to incorporate aeroponics into the aquaponics system to increase planting capacity. You keep your grow bed with media of some form or another to promote bacteria but also have a verticle aeroponics system in the form of 100mm stormwater pipe and reticulation tubing and micro sprayers entering from the top through a screw on cap which can be easily removed for cleaning the sprayers then plumb the base of the 100mm pipe into the grow bed to syphon back into the fish tank that way whatever isn't used by the aeroponics setup can be utilised by the grow bed.
    I have heard of this being used in conjunction with DWC but not with just the grow bed.
    I've thought of fogponics as well but it's another power source and being a 12v system I want it as little draw as possible and this setup can run off one pump per IBC still which is what I have setup at the moment and what I will be setting up once we get back to the farm and go commercial with it.
     
  7. andyholloway

    andyholloway Super Moderator

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    I would love to see how you go with aeroponics.
    It is great technology but as it requires such fine spray nozzles, in aquaponics they tend to get clogged very quickly.
     
  8. sandman2nv

    sandman2nv New Member

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    Hi Andy,
    Fortunately Andy I am a diesel mechanic and have access to some fine micron filters and screens of all shapes and sizes that I'll be able to adapt, so the sprayers getting clogged shouldn't be a problem....... hopefully lol nah I've got the screw cap so cleaning shouldn't be to hard.
    I'll be trialling it while I'm up here in Darwin to see how it goes so I'll be posting pics in the next couple of weeks, it's just a matter of finding time in between going fishing for Barra and working 6 days up here to get it done.
     
  9. Sayhello2pedro

    Sayhello2pedro New Member

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    Hi Sandman, just reading your thread which I think is a great idea but I was wondering why you would need to run on 12V DC. If you're thinking large scale, 240V AC is the way to go. Your Solar Panels / wind turbines or what ever you decide to run would generate 12, 24 or 36V DC then to a control charger which would split to your Inverter generating the 240V AC Supply or to your battery bank. DC current doesn't do well over vast distances due to high Amperage needed to run the distance and overheating wires. Anything you have running on 12V DC you should run with an adaptor to 240V AC Mains.Tesla batteries are something new and look very promising not to mention small and maintenance free. Not sure about the price here in Australia yet as they have only started taking orders in the USA. Hope this helps
     
  10. Robert123

    Robert123 Active Member

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    I'll echo SHP's comment and be a bit more blunt... 12 vdc solar systems are toys, not for use as a commercially viable power source. If you are serious about using off-grid solar you need to think about 24v or 48v storage with inversion to AC. As stated above, the power transmission is much more efficient AND the equipment (pumps, etc) is more reliable in the long term.

    I can go on and on about solar and/or off-grid implementation strategies, but I'll leave it as this. Unless you are well versed in solar, I suggest that you get a professional designer to help you design and quote you a system. Even if you decide to build it yourself, you'll learn a lot about the detail of what is involved in putting together a commercially viable power plant.
     
    David - WI likes this.
  11. sax

    sax New Member

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    Hi Mate. its funny i was just You tubing 5mins before coming on this forum and stumbled on the Geet fuel system. i would like to chat more about that and how you built it, is it as good as i've seen etc etc
     
  12. Robert123

    Robert123 Active Member

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    The Geet system is a type of vapor carburetor. I call BS on the plasma claims.

    Vapor carburetors are nothing new, and yes they can work to improve economy - especially when dealing with crude small engine systems. Gasoline vapor explodes & gives power, gasoline liquid burns and is wasted BUT often you gotta heat (think boil) the fuel to volatize the higher molecular weight fractions.

    Vapor carbs - especially homemade ones - can be mighty dangerous. Look up BLEVE.
     
  13. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Look what I have just scored. 20 x 240 x 24 volt solar panels. Close to 5000 watts. I already have a large battery bank so just a few bits needed to start swinging over the greenhouses to run off 24 volt dc pumps.

    Solar Panel-1.jpg
     
    andyholloway likes this.
  14. Robert123

    Robert123 Active Member

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    Very nice. You planning on hooking the panels straight to the batteries or going thru a charge controller? Don't know how much you know about solar PV. If you want / need any help, give me a shout. In any case, keep us informed of the progress. :)
     
  15. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Robert,
    Yes, have charge controller MPPT style. I am no expert but am learning fast. Have only put up 4 panels at the moment. Project #1 is to get our INDY 23 greenhouse working completely off solar. It is running very well during the day when the sun is out but the batteries run down to 60% in about 4 hours so have to revert to battery charger off mains.
    Need a heap more batteries or some sort of auto start gen set.

    Like this kind of thing
    3000W SMART GENERATOR 24v DC output auto on(22.5v) &off(28.2) for power inverter.

    http://goo.gl/XuXg17
     
  16. DannyPM

    DannyPM Member

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    The adventure for an off-grid option has to be done with ultra power efficient pumps (water and air pump).

    Consider going for higher ratio of flow over wattage when choosing the pumps. DC pumps can accomplish that level of efficiency but theoretically they're short lived. So if you can manage to get the brushless DC pumps you would be better of however they're pricey. Do a bit of Google search to see what the market has to offer in terms of power efficient pumps.
    To design a proper solar power system you need to know the total power demand of you Aquaponics system. Is not a matter of putting panels together and hope for the best. It does require some sort of calculation and forecast.
    Let's say you system demands 500W on average (12 kWh of daily power consumption). Then you need a system that produce and store as minimum as 12 x 1,5 = 18 kWh in 10 hours of a sunny day. If you manage that then your system can survive 2 to 3 consecutive cloudy days.
    Consider having high energy dense panels to save space and connect them in combinations of series and parallel to a MTTP controller.
    Use deep cycle batteries and for larger systems, 24 or 48V DC batteries are a good bet (under the current example, with 24V DC battery storage, it would be required 750 Ah of storage, 1800W panels).
    To avoid degrading the battery it's recommended a max DoD = 50% on deep cycle battery.

    The off-grid option is still pricey and requires a massive investment upfront.









    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. Robert123

    Robert123 Active Member

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    Good to hear back from ya Murray. All good points above, but often reality limits a pure solar design. An auto-start genset is a very reasonable solution to stretch the battery bank. Typically cheaper than expanding the bank too far. Couple questions...

    Are you sure the batteries are going to 100% charge? The array may just not be big enough yet. Do the mains top them off too? What batteries are you using? Have you got specs readily available?

    One thought for off grid is to cycle the pumps at XX% duty during times the panels are down to stretch the batteries. Just have to keep the tanks aerated to keep the fish happy. If you find yourself pegging out your charge controller as you add in panels, you can aim some of the panels towards sunset to stretch your "on panel power" hours and spread the kWh so as to reduce peak amps. Panels are a lot cheaper than batteries too ;).

    We're going backwards to ya with regards to our build process. Power THEN greenhouse. Waiting on our permits to complete for our 18.4 kW array on the barn. We'll be grid tied with disconnect and have the ability to AC couple the inverters for off-grid use when necessary, but since we have the grid available we'll primarily use the grid itself for our main "battery bank". (that's the plan anyway :)).
     
  18. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Thanks Robert and Danny,
    Yes we are learning more every day we operate the INDY 23 greenhouse off solar. Little problems that rear the ugly heads. The 24 volt water pump we have on the system draws 85 watts which is not all that bad. Hooked up a timer and set it to switch pump off at 6:00 pm, on for 45 minutes at midnight then off until 6:00 am. Good plan, except the pump has a little smart box that makes the flow adjustable. We have found that the pump does not always come back on line at full throttle. It randomly picks anyone of 5 possible settings. Anyway, next thing is to fiddle with bypassing the little smart box so it is only, go or stop.
     

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