Most of us, especially if you live on the Somerset Levels or the Norfolk Broads, often see our rhynes (ditches) and ponds covered in duckweed.
It is not the pest we think it is.
This week after nearly two years preparatory work and 40 years of passion by Texas based inventor of the system Paul Skilicorn. I am in Peru as part of Lyndon Water‘s management team led by CEO Ray Anderson working to deliver a truly unique water treatment project. Using duckweed as a key element in the treatment process we will clean urban wastewater on an industrial scale and then turn it into potable drinking water to WHO standards. Water to the same standard that in Europe we take for granted 24 hours a day.
If all goes to plan in a little under 18 months people in an area of northern Peru will be free of a 30 year stench from its failed sewage treatment plant and the region receiving additional potable water to increase availability of drinking water and reduce the strain on depleting aquifers.
October 2018 Update
Paul Skillicorn recently left Lyndon Water and has set up a competing business. with Ramiro Priale.
Duckweed is just about the fastest growing plant in the world. As duckweed grows it removes nutrients and other contaminants converting suspended elements in wastewater into usable biomass. We separate and take the suspended solids for anaerobic digestion to generate power before the duckweed cleans the water.
Duckweed under the Lyndon Water process is harvested and converted into fish food, animal feed, high protein superfoods or for energy generation. Some of the feed we produce will then be used to support Lyndon Water‘ s food production at a new and nearby integral fish farm and Aquaponics facility that forms part of the Lyndon Water system. Nothing is wasted.
The harvester design and the lagoon system design is by my engineering consultancy Glue2 Limited . We have also developed a process for concurrent transportation and processing of duckweed suitable for use in remote locations using minimal permanent infrastructure. All equipment and buildings are modularised and based on ISO containers and dimensions.
We take wastewater and make drinking water, the waste we turn into food and power. What’s not to like?
When you next see duckweed covering a pond or rhyne it’s not a pest but it’s cleaning up our water. It’s not all of the story of the process but it is the key.
Director Paul Bryant, CEO Ray Anderson, Lyndon Water in Country Manager Ramiro Priale & Chairman Lewis Jeffery