The Acqualife project has led to the realization of MyPonic™, an automated aquaponic system for residential use that combines biological and artificial systems in order to help improve – both directly and indirectly – the physical and psychological state of the person.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
The aquaponic system has been equipped with a set of carefully selected botanical components, including fruit, vegetable, aromatic and medicinal plants, which can benefit from growth within the micro-habitat created by the system. In addition to the botanical components, selected fish species have also been included in the MyPonic system, useful as a source of fertilizer production for the layer of expanded clay that houses the plants. All these factors are selected while also taking into account the aesthetic parameters that contribute to the psychological well-being of the user.
A VIRTUOUS CYCLE
A further objective achieved by the Acqualife project concerns the limitation of external interventions of the end user, thanks to the implementation and installation of IoT sensors. This monitoring system increases the balance that the aquaponics technology normally tends to guarantee. Myponic, in fact, is able to feed itself through the exploitation of its primary products (fish and plants carefully selected) and the exploitation of its secondary products, namely organic waste (manure) of fish transformed into nitrites and then nitrates, nutrients essential for plant growth. The water in the tank is, in fact, pumped to irrigate the clay plant growth beds, whose roots absorb the nitrates, acting as a biofilter. The filtered water then returns, purified and cleaned, to the tank, ensuring the well-being of the fish: the balance of the system is thus guaranteed, through the maintenance of a neutral and inert pH.
The optimal pH within the aquaponic system is approximately 7, because a neutral pH improves the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients.
THE FOUR STAGES
The added value of MyPonic lies in the system’s ability to automatically improve the quality of the water, which undergoes a rigorous four-stage filtration process:
Untreated water, which includes fish waste, sludge, algae and other harmful particles, passes through a first layer consisting of clay pebbles…
…to be subsequently filtered by a diverse composite biofilter.
The partially purified water then passes through ceramic rings to remove ammonia and nitrite…
… to be finally sterilized by UV rays, which in a few hours also eliminate any turbidity caused by algae and bacteria.
Water saving is guaranteed through the reuse of the same water for several days.
AN AUTOMATED SYSTEM
The system is therefore fully automated, efficient, viable and sustainable: for this purpose, the integration of ICT and System Automation technologies has been fundamental. The Decision Support System integrated in MyPonic allows to manage the variables of the aquaponic system according to a retroactive logic: in this way, the system is able to intervene automatically in order to ” regulate itself” after variations beyond the threshold of chemical-physical parameters connected with the suitable breeding of plant and fish species.
The aquaponic system MyPonic, in fact, is characterized by a controlled balance from both the natural interaction with the fish species inserted in the aquarium (source of irrigation for the growth medium of the plant component), and a monitoring system (which guarantees the control of water quality and ensures the maintenance of ideal conditions, thus minimizing the need for intervention by the end user).
If, for example, the system detects – by means of the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter – parameters above the threshold in the quantity of salts dissolved in the water, the filtering system automatically holds the water for longer in order to re-establish the optimal values.
The Myponic system is also equipped with a timed system (it changes according to the parameters detected by the system) to feed the fishes and an automatic lighting system: the integration of these systems on the one hand allows the establishment of ideal conditions for plants and fish, on the other contributes to the psycho-physical relaxation of the person.
Da remoto, l’utente può scegliere:
- How many and which parameters to display;
- The sampling frequency of the data collected by the sensors;
- To select predefined use cases built around plant and fish mix scenarios;
- To schedule any maintenance needs for the electronic control equipment.
GREEN DESIGN & WELLNESS
Among the results of the Acqualife project, the primary objective achieved is the improvement of people’s well-being in the workplace or in private homes: an ideal environment is recreated to reduce stress and ensure healthiness for the end user. The project idea originates, in fact, also from the experience gained during the management of the Covid-19 epidemic, which imposed to the population more or less prolonged periods of quarantine.
The Acqualife project is part of the “green design” and “wellness” markets, since it encourages the insertion of MyPonic aquaponic systems in domestic and work environments, as functional decoration. In this way, through an eco-friendly approach, Aqualife contributes to the improvement of people’s psycho-physical conditions, while focusing on the themes of organic food and relaxation in closed environments.