In 2000, inventor and outdoorsman Bruce Kania saw something that would change the way he looked at water: his black dog, Rufus, jumped into a pond and came out red.
Concerned for his dog and wondering what was going on, Bruce instinctively felt “we could do better” and saw a tremendous opportunity for invention.
He was intrigued with biomimicry as a way of solving human problems with solutions modeled on nature. What if we could develop a new and natural stewardship tool which could clean water and, in the process, improve life for all the creatures who live in it?
Bruce brought together a team of engineers and plant specialists who turned to the floating peat bogs of Northern Wisconsin for inspiration: Bruce grew up among these floating islands, where world-record fish are to be found within crystal-clear waters. The team set about “biomimicking” these floating riparian structures.
Using a matrix made of post-consumer materials (recycled plastic drink bottles), they created an island capable of supporting the weight of plants and soil. The fibers within the matrix proved to be excellent material for growing biofilm, while still allowing water to pass through it—the key features of a wetland. This allowed unwanted nutrients to be “eaten” by bacteria forming on the island and in the plant roots. The team called the breakthrough technology BioHaven® floating islands.
In 2005, Bruce and his partners opened a BioHaven® prototype production facility at the Shepherd Research Farm in Shepherd, Montana and Floating Island International, Inc. was in business. Within the first two years of operation, 1600 islands had been launched in the US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, Korea and Europe. By 2010, over 4,000 islands had been launched, and over 30 different applications had been identified for floating islands.
In addition to ongoing prototype development, Floating Island International, Inc. offers licensing opportunities to businesses and production facilities worldwide. FII continues to research and develop collaborative pilot projects to quantify BioHaven® floating islands’ efficacy.
FII is a subsidiary of successful invention company, Fountainhead, LLC. Floating Island International and Fountainhead together possess an IP portfolio valued in excess of $12 million.