We are pleased to announce that FII has been selected for a Dept. of Energy SETO Phase One SBIR grant award. The grant’s purpose is to develop and test a technology that will oxygenate nutrient-impaired water in off-grid settings.
We are collaborating with Moleaer, Inc., a nanobubbler manufacturer, in this effort, and are bringing the full resources of FII and WaterRR to bear on the project. Incidentally, FII supported a successful student project at MSU to develop the prototype of the solar power array that will be used to power the nanobubbler.
We are excited about this award and its implications for our success and for meaningful climate action.
Here is our official announcement:
Floating Island International (FII) Announces Award Selection by U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office
FII RESEARCHERS TACKLE METHANE REDUCTION
* THE NORTH AMERICAN PANDEMIC OF HARMFUL ALGAE BLOOMS RESULTS IN A MASSIVE INCREASE IN METHANE EMISSIONS
* THOUSANDS OF LAKES ACROSS NORTH AMERICA NOW STARVED OF DISSOLVED OXYGEN
* FISH AND WATER QUALITY AT RISK
June 29, 2021, Shepherd, Montana - Floating Island International (FII), an environmental research company based in Shepherd, Montana, has been selected for a Phase One SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) award to develop a floating island system that reduces methane emissions associated with nutrient impaired water. A primary goal of the grant is to a develop a solar-powered aeration transport system which will deliver oxygen to water where it is most needed. Without oxygen, lakes are poised to generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is 21 times more damaging than carbon dioxide in terms of climate change.
Today more than half of waterways across the U.S., including Lake Erie and Chesapeake Bay, are nutrient impaired, which manifests by the increase in algae blooms, especially Harmful Algae Blooms. The result is a precipitous decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) and a corresponding increase in climate-changing emissions from methane instead of carbon dioxide.
FII’s proposed solution will transition such waterways back into aerobic status, and in the process save fish from die-offs, prevent dangerous emissions of cyano toxins, and reduce or eliminate associated methane emissions and other negative water quality parameters which include increased turbidity and odor.
Nanobubble oxygenation is one of the most promising and cost-efficient means we have today of effectively increasing DO in a lake without disturbing the equilibrium. BioHaven floating islands represent a biofilm-reactive surface area for enhancing biological processes to treat water naturally. FII’s integrated, off-grid platform is expected to be welcomed by professional lake managers as a realistic and affordable option for contending with HABs.
The Shepherd, Montana based company currently has six licensed manufacturers positioned to build BioHaven floating island platforms, three in North America, one each in the UK, New Zealand and China.
“When it comes to fixing water, collaboration with nature is vital,” said Bruce Kania, CEO, and head of the FII research and development division. “We are teaming with nature to steward excess nutrients into fish instead of algae.”
Kania added, “our award from the Solar Energy Technologies Office is pointed at addressing methane reduction from impaired fresh water. "If we succeed in this, we can buy time for other forms of climate action to occur. Today there are over 500 mayors from across the U.S. who are prepared to lead their communities towards sustainable climate policy. We hope to partner with them and support their efforts towards climate neutrality.”
“We intend to leverage the unique characteristics of nanobubble technology to bring oxygen into water from top to bottom. In the process, eutrophic water devoid of breathable oxygen can be fixed, according to Kania. FII has partnered with Moleaer Inc. out of Carson, California, the leading company in nanobubble technology.
Moleaer’s nanobubble technology has already been proven to increase dissolved oxygen levels concentrations in lakes and ponds and produce a chemical-free oxidative effect that combats algae directly and helps reduce the availability of the nutrients they need to cause nuisance blooms while improving water quality.
“There is a clear synergism between our companies’ technologies, and we are excited to participate in this collaboration and see the results of these powerful tools combined” states Eli Kersh, Director of Surface Water for Moleaer.
According to climate researcher Tonya DelSontro of Waterloo University, Toronto, Canada, “Methane from freshwater sources accounts for nearly 20% of total hydrocarbon greenhouse gas impact.” “Addressing this major source of GHGs is critical to any effort to achieve climate neutrality,” she states.
Phosphorus is a primary nutrient that triggers harmful algae blooms which in turn result in oxygen depletion and turbidity in both, freshwater and marine settings. The recent spill of nutrient impaired water at Piney Point on Florida’s west coast is linked to algae blooms and increased turbidity in coastal marine settings that in turn impact seagrass, a vital food source for Florida manatees, a federally listed endangered species. According to environmentalist and Florida native, Ed Chiles, the manatee is a keystone species that tracks with environmental degradation. “The fate of manatees is up to us. We can develop and deploy technologies like BioHaven floating islands and begin the process of fixing water. Let’s hope we are not too late for the manatee."
THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S SMALL BUSINESS INOVATIVE RESEARCH (SBIR) PROGRAM TRIGGERS KEY CLIMATE ACTION INITIATIVES
About the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office
The Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through competitive awards, SBIR/STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from their innovations’ commercialization. Projects must have the potential for commercialization and meet mission-specific DOE R&D needs. DOE offers more than 60 technical topics and 250 subtopics, spanning research areas that support the DOE mission in energy production, energy use, fundamental energy sciences, environmental management, and defense nuclear nonproliferation. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs. Learn more at https://www.sbir.gov/ and https://www.energy.gov/science/sbir/small-business-innovation-research-and-small-business-technology-transfer.
Thanks again for helping us spread the word. This is an exciting time for FII and the future of impaired water.
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