Sunday, October 30, 2011

Soneva Gili Building A Sustainable Future

Soneva Gili Resort is now in the process of designing an Eco Centro “Waste to Wealth Center.

Waste to Wealth

The project started back in early 2011 when I was asked to go and assess the current herb and vegetable gardens. As with Soneva Fushi the soil Ph was high in alkalinity 8-10 and no soil life after 10 years of no organic matter returned to the impoverished soil which is really sand. Vegetables and herbs had been grown through the use of imported cow dung, coco peat and compost.

Soneva Gili does produce Bio Mass, food waste like any other resort and from the STP (Septic Treatment Plant) nutrient rich water. As shown at Soneva Fushi just by adding food waste in a deep pit combined with the existing poor soil and toped with mulch and planted with nitrogen fixing plants soil Ph and soil life can be restored in a short space of time, about 1 Ph point per month. 

Sustainable tropical soil rehabilitation "Growing Soil"

Compost and mulch is also required as in the tropics these need to be added at least 6 weekly and I would go sooner with a fertilizer programme of every 2 weeks alternating with organic matter (compost, mulch) and a liquid fertilizer.

Finished and growing sugar cane and lemon grass

As Six Senses Resorts philosophy is SLOW LIFE Sustainable.Local.Organic.Wellness    Learning Inspiring Fun Experiences Eco Centro’s are essential to handle all waste inputs and waste generated on the Resorts.

Sharaz with harvest

Soneva Gili is now building their Eco Centro.

Start of Eco Centro  Soneva Gili

As with all Permaculture design all principles have been employed during the design and construction. We have redesigned the mushroom growing areas to incorporate ease of use through necessary work stations linked together and minimizing the need for energy by designing in cross flow ventilation where needed and sealed doors where necessary in the air conditioned starting container which will be insulated and clad.
Polystyrene boxes will be used as insulation and 20 % crushed glass will be added to cement for the floor slabs.

Mushroom production area

The Eco Centro will become a Waste to Wealth Centre, Food production unit (Mushrooms) Educational center with the aim to be self supporting through revenues from recycling metals, compost production, food cross charged to the various kitchens.
There is also the carbon emissions saved due to the recycling, reduction in food miles, guest experience, marketing benefits leading to increase in guest stays due to the Intelligent Luxury, SLOW LIFE focus.

All in all a Permaculture principle success of at least 3 uses.

With out the completion of the Eco Centro the benefits are already been seen.

Delegates from ICUN, FOA, India , Pakistan 

I was invited to speak at a MMF Mangroves for the Future Conference held in the Maldives. The learning seminar was on Sustainable Tourism and Coastal Care.
MFF was established post 2004 Tsunami with Bill Clinton Ex US President as Patron.
MFF has 8 participating countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Seychelles, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Maldives.

The topic was on the Waste to Wealth management Six Senses employees and how it can be replicated as these countries need to address the same issue... Turning waste to Wealth and not polluting their coastal waters. 

Patrick T Evans FOA Sri Lanka  Maldives

The following day after the conference 30 attendees toured Soneva Gili Resort looking at all heart of house facilities and the vegetable garden and the under construction Eco Centro. Comments were very positive confirming they had not seen a resort as committed or transparent about their operations and environmental policy.

The roof goes on 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adam-Retort : Bio Char the future

It does not stop growing 

Turning more waste to wealth
At Eco Centro we also receive at least 4m3 of bio mass per day and with construction and renovations of Villas and Host accommodation plus furniture making we gather more timber “Waste or Wealth?”

We are able to chip some of the bio mass for the Composting process we use here “The Berkeley Method” as covered in previous blogs and to make mulch as well. After doing this we still have extra as a tropical jungle never stops growing.

How else can we create Wealth – Charcoal and Bio Char?
On arriving at Eco Centro there was two pyrolysis ovens that converted wood waste into Charcoal which is used as a fuel for the BBQ’s 

Bio Char 10 % compost mix

When Charcoal is crushed to a powder it is then called Bio Char to improve soils for agriculture through sequestering carbon back into impoverished soils. We add 10 % of Bio Char into our compost mix. Bio char increases the surface area and also increases moisture retention allowing for greater microbial activity.

The CSIRO Australia describe Bio Char as
 “A stable form of charcoal produced from heating natural organic materials (crop and other waste, woodchips, manure) in a high temperature, low oxygen process known as pyrolysis. Due to its molecular structure, biochar is chemically and biologically in a more stable form than the original carbon form it comes from, making it more difficult to break down. This means that in some cases it can remain stable in soil for hundreds to thousands of years.”

Presidents Actors Business Men  talking Pyrolysis

We have recently bought the license to build an “Adams Retort” The license covers the build of 6 Retorts.

We have now made 4 batches of charcoal and are very happy with the Retort. The most recent batch results are as below:

Old Pyrolysis Ovens

Building New Adam Retort

Raja Ravi Mani ready to save the world

Charcoal production

15/10/11 burn 3

1000 kg of construction wood from villa repairs

Oven full

Burn time – 5am -8pm / total 15 hours

11.30 am chimney 1 shut down 210 c

O2 accelerator opened at 9am -11.30 am – 2.5 hours

Gasification lasted 8.5 hours

Total wood burnt – scrap construction ply 125 kg

Total Charcoal 390 kg

Stage 1 drying the wood

Methane gas "Gasification "  burning


Fuel and soil food 

I strongly advise looking into the process of making Bio Char as it could be the answer to Climate Change????

Another sustainable system to add into your PermacultureDesign

Below is information from the Retort Web site
Or contact Chris  ( )
Check the video about the "adam-retort" under:

Did You know:
CHARCOAL from RETORT SYSTEMS can often serve as a replacement for fossil fuels,
thereby having a neutral effect on CO
² exchanges.
This makes a significant positive contribution to the preservation of our environment!
Also using charcoal to improve soils for agriculture
(bio char) becomes more and more important
Advantages of the "adam-retort":
1) High economy and better efficiency of approx. 35% to 45% (Instead of about 18% efficiency compared to the traditional systems; calculated from dry weight).
2) Recycling and clean combustion of the pyrolysis gas during the 2nd phase of operation (retort-system) results in a low-emission of carbon monoxides during the charcoal production! The effective carbonization of the biomass takes only 10 hours.
A retort system reduces the emission of harmful volatiles into the
atmosphere to about up to 75%! (Compared to a traditional earth-mount kiln).
3) Low investment costs of about ~500Euroand a simple construction with locally available materials. (Costs were about 300 Euro in Kenya in 2004, but now with raising steel prices costs increased...) .
4) About 3m3 of biomass (corresponding to approx. 600kg to 900kg wood, coconut shells, compacted saw-dust briquettes, etc., dry weight, water not counted, or ~1-1,5 tons of wet wood) can be converted to up to 350kg of charcoal per batch. Per week about 3 batches of biomass can be carbonized which is corresponding to about ~1 ton of charcoal per week and unit.
5) An effective 30 hour total production cycle (known as batch) and a simple operation of the plant result in an increased income for its operators. The right system to be used at forest projects, sustainable energy-wood plantations and charcoal makers in rural areas or for semi-industrial production.
6) Only waste wood or residual biomass needs to be burnt (~50kg) in a separate fire box to dry and heat the wood and initiate the carbonization process during the 1st phase.
7) With an extended version the famous "white charcoal" should be possible to be produced? This is an adapted Japanese technology to produce high quality and strong charcoal.
Also the production of "wood vinegar" is possible during the 1st phase of operation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Slow Life Symposium 6th – 9 Oct Soneva Fushi Maldives

Over 4 days fun and serious discussion was had at Soneva Fushi hosting the Six Senses S.L.O.W. L.I.F.E. Symposium.

Mark Lynas 

Friendships were formed with a diverse range of people from actors to Government officials and all having the one thing in common …. A desire and a commitment to solutions so we can all enjoy the natural world in the future. It was such a special place to be feeding off the energy and learning more.

Edward Norton and Michael Walker discussed for many hours responsible waste management, who would of though their focus is on managing bio wastes into clean usable water and fertilizer??? When surfing with them in the clear Indian oceans along with Takuja Masuda it all makes sense as we have to stop outpour of all wastes into our oceans.

Edward and Micheal 

Daryl Hannah was the only Permaculturist beside me and as her partner Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters) said she has changed since doing her PDC. Looking at nature with a designer’s eye and passing comment on unsustainable practices…!!

Daryl Hannah Fabian Cousteau Chris gorell Barnes jon Bowermaster and Arnfinn Oines standing 

World leaders in sustainability and climate change from John Hardy the Co-Founder of Green School and Green Village, both based in Bali, Indonesia. Green School is built almost entirely from bamboo, a fast-growing, natural, local and renewable resource, and the classrooms are without walls. John has partnered with his daughter, Elora, to create Green Village, a planned community based on design concepts and sustainable principles established by the artisans and craftsmen that built Green School.  

John Hardy Mark Garrett

 Tim Smit Chief Executive and Co-Founder of The Eden Project, one of the UKs most visited tourist attractions. Built in a disused clay pit, Eden includes the worlds largest greenhouse. Tim was voted  "Great Briton of 2007 in the Environment category of the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards.

Tim Smit Gary Whyte and Sam Smit 

Peter Head  the Founder of the Carbon Sequestration Trust, a charity bringing together the worlds top scientists, engineers , economists, financiers and other specialists to quickly plan, design and implement regional scale demonstration projects in the worlds fastest growing economies, using low carbon urban-rural development models which are energy, water and food secure

Peter Head 

The president of the Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed spoke on a Carbon Neutral Nation saying the Climate change issue was no longer an Earth Science issue, now it is an Economic Development Security and Safety issue. In the past a Presidents job involve a lot of clapping, shaking hands and opening power stations NOW IT HAS TO BE OPENING RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS. The role of rich nations is to reduce Co2 and the poor to increase production of renewable energy.
In short if we do destroy the reefs of the Maldives we destroy the islands then the homes and the people.

President Nasheed Sonu Shivdasani  Edward Norton

Eric Scotto the Chairman and Co-Founder of Akuo Energy Group, a global producer of electricity and energy exclusively from renewable resources. currently working in partnership with the administration of Reunion Island to deliver Green Energy Revolution – Reunion Island (GERRI), a project aimed at achieving integrated energy self-sufficiency by 2030  along with the Jean Ballandras  Secretary General of Reunion Island, where he has devised GERRI (Green Energy Revolution - Reunion Island), a project aimed at integrating all innovations and technologies in the field of renewables on one small island of 800,000 inhabitants, to reach self-sufficiency. GERRI's achievements so far are a very strong boost to prove that islands can become smart testing grounds for renewable innovations, by building "small size, but full scale experiments" made a powerful presentation putting on the table a list of achievement over the past 12 months that included 60,000 tons of Co2 avoided, over 30 % of the country being run on renewable energy coming from wind, hydro, solar and bio mass. Under the solar they have developed over 140,000 acres of organic food production and water collection.

Eric Scotto

Jean Ballandras  

 Richard Branson talked on the future of alternative fuel sources and carbon fiber technologies as over 70% of carbon is generated from air transport.  There was also a panel on the role of CEO's as Sustainability as the new Normal where it was agreed Sustainability was a branding building exercise.

Richard  Sonu

We all can make a difference

Outcomes from the Symposium on a personal level was the acknowledgement of the Permaculture sustainable agriculture work the team are doing on Soneva Fushi especially the focus on “Growing Soil”. The President has asked for me to keep in touch as there is the possibility of a programme to start with John Hardy on a local island for food production.

The overall message I got from the event was we need as individuals do what ever we can to lead a non polluting sustainable life and at the same time work together to force policy change within governments and companies to commit to a 350 ppm of Co2 in the atmosphere.

Mark Lynas an environmental author and Climate Change Advisor to the President of the Maldives involved in the Maldives effort to be the first carbon neutral country on Earth by 2020 said we are (The Maldives) the master of our own destiny and we cannot rely on others.

Jakob von Uexkull

 Jakob von Uexkull the Founder of the World Futures Council, which supports political decision-makers with the goal of ensuring that their decisions and policies are always made with sustainability and inter-generational fairness in their minds. Jakob is a patron of Friends of the Earth International and a member of the Global Commission to Fund the United Nations goes further to say no part of the world will not be affected by Climate Change and a global war could result from inaction as African refugees need somewhere to live.

Join the club and fight 

It is not enough to do our best but what is necessary” Winston Churchill    

Thanks LALA ... for the great shots :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slow Life Symposium hosted by Soneva Fushi

Over the next week Soneva Fushi will host an amazing symposium that impacts on all of us, Climate change , sustainable tourism and renewable energy systems. The site will be updated daily.

I have already had the pleasure of showing John Hardy founder of Green School Bali around our Eco Centro and food producing gardens that use Permaculture design principles for sustainable agriculture, he was impressed !!!

Mark Lynas ( Climate Change Advisor to the President of the Maldives) and children have sampled the passionfruit we grow there too... 

  I have been involved in discussions on managing bio -solids and waste water with Michael Walker and Edward Norton of Baswood and the Symposium has not even started. I look forward to letting you know what is happen on a daly basis or go to to find out more and who is attending.