When going around in circles is a good thing
MicroTERRA from Mexico uses a closed-loop on-farm system that treats aquaculture wastewater and turns it into animal feed – and clean water.
Agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawals worldwide. It also plays a major role in water pollution because farming activities contribute to the discharge of large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, and sediments into water bodies. Toxic tides, lifeless rivers, and dead zones in the oceans are the result of excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer and liquid manure entering waterways. In turn, freshwater and marine ecosystems, as well as the economic viability of these environments suffer. MicroTERRA has developed a solution to utilize animal manure from farms before it causes pollution downstream. Their onsite water treatment systems use microalgae to transform the wastewater into sustainable animal feed while cleaning the water. The MicroTERRA system was developed for inland aquaculture. The system, however, can also be used to treat cow, chicken, and pig manure. The wastewater from aquaculture tanks is fed into bioreactors to cultivate microalgae that feed on the nutrients. After the microalgae grow, they are harvested and used as a protein source for the fish feed. The water that comes out clean can be recycled back to the aquaculture tank, saving water and preventing the disposal of untreated wastewater.