Our fully biological mini wastewater treatment plant for sailing and motor yachts, houseboats and large living and expedition mobiles uses natural digestive processes of microorganisms for the treatment of sewage polluted wastewater. For this purpose, the tract of mammals have been modelled as a centrepiece of our bioreactor - the use of natural processes for industrial processes, known as Bionic, is a new technology to make them more simple and effective.
enteron is a fully automated multi-chamber water treatment plant, which combines the advantages of the activated sludge process with the use of effective microorganisms. These organisms form a bacterial film on a special hose, which provides an increased surface area for the biofilm. The system works like a bowel - the long hose with a corresponding surface and grown bacteria film draws especially the carbon from the wastewater. For this purpose, the bacteria is supplied oxygen from the outside air via a compressed air pump so that the minimum oxygen content of the liquid in the reactor for the survival of the culture is secured.
Would you have thought that the global computer industry would eventually agree on a data exchange standard? That everyone from schoolchildren to pensioners, even with smartphones and tablets are online at almost any time? That social networks are more important than real friends and their inventors would all be billionaires?
Anyone who would have bet 10 years ago that Germany would be one of the first nations to shut down its nuclear power plants, would at the very least been laughed at. The world is changing, quickly and comprehensively. No matter what your personal opinion is - the changes affect us all and are unstoppable.
When, nearly 15 years ago, I installed the outrageously expensive SUNPOWER photovoltaic modules on my yacht for the first time in order to supply the ship with self-produced energy, I was considered a dreamer. Today, after I have installed many peak kilowatts on yachts of all sizes, solar power has long been standard on long-liners. Today we even produce up to 1.6 kW of renewable energy while sailing. Two years ago, when I introduced "boot", the world's first commercial solar thermal solution for yachts, the doomsday predictions were of the same size; today many bluewater sailors produce hot water in this way and the first shipyard has installed the equipment as standard. Our electric cookers of the e-cocking-series were considered in January 2015 with scepticism - but the success speaks for itself: cooking takes place with self-produced electricity in many yachts, without gas and its dangers. Many of my clients can produce their own energy, convert seawater into drinking water, heating it and cooking with it emission-free and, above all, safely. Thanks to the advent of LED technology on yachts, the energy required for lighting has decreased, but comfort needs such as refrigeration and air conditioning have again increased. Today's sailors are very open to progress and innovative ideas and invest a lot in their self-sufficiency.
Therefore, it is now time to solve one of the last problems of life on board that people do not like to discuss: the disposal of excrement.
While at sea, far away from any coast, the input of faeces is negligible by yachts comfortable and surely has no measurable negative impact on the environment, but near the shore the situation is quite different. But it is precisely here, in beautiful harbours, bays and lagoons that people on long voyages gather. Most yacht enthusiasts are only really on the high seas 10% of the time. Where it is nice, there is something to see and discover, that's where the community is: there is simply no unexplored pristine corners any more - you can reach anywhere nowadays, if you want to. But the country infrastructure at hotspots are not up to this onslaught - some large Mediterranean marinas with thousands of moorings offers only a handful of toilets, often far away and dirty.
The result is immediately visible in midsummer: a brown, stinking cesspool. Anyone who has ever been to Cala d'Or in the summer knows what I mean. What was at best, still retained in the holding tank during the day, is forced overboard at night. The tanks that are always too small are often full in the evening. Draining, even if a functioning pump was available, would mean dropping anchor, and at worst loss of the berth. Of course, nobody does this.
What could be better than treating the wastewater directly on board ??
Existing wastewater treatment plants for ships are large, energy- and maintenance-intensive and unsuitable for use on a private yacht. There are also the high prices and especially the space requirement. So energy-intensive preparation was not an option as a solution. Looking for a different, simpler method nature came to my rescue: why not try to replicate the natural digestive system? As a mechanical engineer and medical technician I worked on this idea until I found the right solution. Together with students from the Beuth University Berlin, the prototype was built and tested. A bioreactor, simulating the intestines of humans and animals, undertakes the treatment by means of microorganisms, which are based on an enlarged surface. This bacterial culture is specialized in faecal recycling and is held alive by the entry of the faecal matter and by oxygen. Upstream and downstream separation tanks and automatic pumps ensure the disintegration and the prevention of sludge.
The demand was to build a fully automated, largely maintenance-free, but also energy-efficient and quiet system, ideally not noticed by the user.
Fundamental problems with conventional small systems, such as overloading and underloading as well as seasonal operation, had to be solved. It is not without pride that I am able to present this new technology today; financed and developed entirely privately, which will no doubt ensure some scepticism and discussions, but, on the other hand, finally represents a solution to a well-known problem.