I. The Best Way to Circulate or Aerate is Sun Bubbler.
All aeration simply introduces air into water. The goal is to dissolve the oxygen in the air into the water. Using air, the maximum dissolved oxygen concentration in a million gallon pond is about 8 lbs. , not very much! In fact, the energy required to mix that 8 lbs. completely throughout any body of water is always far, far, less than the energy required to get the oxygen into the pond in the first place, period. That said, we can now talk about the energy needed by mechanical mixers, pumps, and splashers vs. bubbled air systems.
Pumping one gallon of water, 1 foot into the air, takes up to 1000 times more energy than pumping one gallon of air into 1 foot of water. Even the most efficient mechanical aerators use double the energy needed by a fine bubbler to get the same typical results.
Mechanical aerators efficiency (SAE) =1.9 kg/hr/kW
Fine bubbler aerator efficiency (SAE) =4.4 kg/hr/kW (double the mechanical splashers efficiency)
By far, fine air bubble diffuser aerator systems aerate water more efficiently and require less maintenance and energy than any other aeration system. Diffuser systems are a lot like airstones in an aquarium. They use an air compressor to pump air into the pond. The diffuser breaks the air into tiny bubbles which expand as they rise. The rising of the bubbles pushes water up (sometimes inside a tube called an airlift pump) and forms a current that lifts bottom water up to the surface resulting in even more aeration by surface renewal. Depending on airlift pumping flow and wave action, surface renewal alone can increase oxygen transfer in a body of water significantly ( 0.03-5.0 g/m2/hour) .
Bubblers, unlike mechanical aerators that use lots of power to lift air starved, stagnant, laminar water flows, do the same job of mixing while using up to six times less power. In addition to instantly transfering oxygen as bubbles are formed, these same bubbles created by the diffuser burst violently at the surface discouraging mosquito and insect breeding while directing the floating algae, suspended solids, and detritus to the shorelines, like no other device known. This unique self-contained solar powered bubble action makes us the first water aerator of choice for mosquito insect abatement, lagoon TSS control, dissolved oxygen control and deicing control .... worldwide.
Only diffused air with its bubble driven turbulence mixes the entire water column with oxygen laden air while preventing stratification in the pond.
Sunbubblers are the solution to sustainable pond aeration!
II. Why PEC Solar Aeration Works $$$
1. All PEC solar aerators are designed with the required solar panels so they work night and day with user supplied off-the-shelf 12 volt, deep cycle marine batteries.
2. Solar puts out DC electricity. We manufacture and fabricate our PEC-45 & PEC-90 air compressors to use DC electricity. They come with a 1 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 2 year pump warranty (not 12 months like the toy motors), and a 5 year rebuild life.
3. Our decentralized distributed power designs vs. the high pressure drop restricting valves & orifices of monolithic grid power designs offer installation cost advantages (as great as 1% for every 2 psi restriction) ,
100% powerbill savings and annual maintenance costs under $150/unit/year on all models. An amortized 5 year cost of ownership estimate shows or G2V-STAR units at less than a $2/day to deliver 80 liters per minute ( 3 cfm ) of fine bubble air to a typical 0.25 acre (1000 m2), 3-5 ft (1-2 mtr.) deep fish pond for 12 hrs/day. Typical intensive fish farmers in tropical climates use less than 2000 cubic foot/1000m2/day of diffused air in a typical production operation (60 liters per minute for 9 hours/day).
4. Unlike aerators that use grid power from power plants spewing tons of CO2 and other GHG's into the atmosphere each day, PEC solar powered aerators actually strip Oxygen, CO2, and GHG's from the air and transfer them to the water where they are converted to earth as part of the ponds aeration enhanced natural life cycle.
5. PEC's decentralized power designs save thousands of dollars in capital costs over monolithic solar powered aeration system designs. In our typical decentralized power diffused air application two G2V-STAR units provide 2 cfm/acre @10 ft water depth using 2 centrally located membrane diffusers equidistant from each other at less than 50 watts/acre. A similar high pressure drop, monolithic design, in the same pond uses 100-200 watts/acre and requires four times the solar cells. PEC's reduced diffuser airline lengths, smaller compressed air system pressure drops, lower equipment capital costs, and reduced operating costs, puts an end to large power swings, mass system failures, and growing electrical power costs.
6. PEC Electro-Kinetic Bio-Solar (EKBS) low pressure aeration and (G2V-STAR) high pressure (8-130 psi) aeration runs 24/7 by design. Our operational designs allow us to double air flows when it is needed most during the late evening and early morning hours when most ponds go anoxic. During peak sunlight hours only a tiny amount of diffused air mixing is needed because of photosynthesis. Wastewater treatment lagoons plagued with low BOD and high algal TSS take maximum advantage of daytime photosynthetic oxygen production by applying 50 watts/acre of diffused air to mix oxygen super saturated top water with the anoxic lower levels. Unlike expensive laminar flow mechanical mixers that rely only on "surface renewal" for aeration. PEC solar bubblers keep critical "odor caps" intact while efficiently mixing deep water. In addition, all our units are designed to take maximum operational advantage of photosynthesis by having the capability of storing power during peak sunshine hours for use at night. However, our units can operate without batteries if daytime only operation is needed. Our larger, G2V-STAR, high pressure units offer built-in programmable timers so you can determine all aeration periods yourself. Our programmable timer and pump sequencing flow design overcomes the inherent inverter failure problems of most other aerator designs while offering an uninterruptible power supply and twice the design air flow 12/7, essential to the aquaculture, aquaponics, and decentralized wastewater treatment industries.
7. Unlike grid powered aerators, PEC solar bubblers do not get shutdown by customers who try to save on monthly power bills or avoid rolling power outages. Instead, power constantly flows freely to and from our sustainable and uninterruptable power supply battery banks.
8. PEC solar aeration puts out DC electricity which easily stores in user provided marine batteries. The pat. pending PEC Hybrid Power Saver add-on can double stored power during periods of increased natural oxygen diffusion. Expensive, power wasting, high maintenance, inverters are not used !
9. Made in the USA PEC-45 and built in the US PEC-90 diaphragm air pumps cost under $275.00 each with a 2 year pump replacement/repair warranty. Others offer AC pumps with costly 90 day repair/replacement warranties, higher initial costs of +$375.00, and expensive add-on inverters that use lots of energy and are prone to annual failure.
10. Solar installations save thousands of dollars compared to the cost of grid power transmission lines, fossil fuel consumption, and global pollution problems. And with solar power there are "no pesky power bills" each month.
11. If you can open the shipping box, you can setup the unit to aerate, in less than 1 hour, with simple hand tools. Everything is included in our systems but the +30 lb. standard marine batteries which are readily available at any hardware or automotive store.
III. Why Solar Powered Aeration in not widespread today!
1. Despite the fact that "undersized" aeration systems still provide large "fish safe" zones of aeration in a pond, the industry continues to design systems that turn off after running just a few hours on sunny days (because they are all based on grid power). Professionals at the US Dept of Fish & Wildlife, State, and Local Conservation Agencies will tell you that if you are going to turn it off, you will stress fish.
2. Fish cannot hold there breath any better than you can. Aerators need to operate 24/7 to support a more bountiful high life in the pond. Sufficient sunlight to charge batteries using non-tracking panels averages 4-6 hours per day in North America. Simply put, unless you are willing to shutdown the pump for 4-6 hours/day, you need a factor of 4-6 times the pump wattage in solar panel wattage without an inverter and +10% more when using inverter techology to operate 24/7. PEC is the only manufacturer that supports 24/7 aeration in their basic system designs.
3. A typical 75 watt air pump needs four 140 watt solar panels, not the two panels offered by others, to store enough power for 24/7 operation.
4. A typical 35 watt air pump needs three 100 watt solar panels, not the two panels offered by others.
(See EKBS-15 in picture below with white bullet float draft tube in background!)
IV. Do I Need to Aerate my Pond this Year?
Yes you do! Non-aerated ponds rely on natural diffusion of oxygen into water from simple wind action mixing. Oxygen produced by photosynthesis escapes quickly from the top layer to the atmosphere. Standing by and letting the ecology suffer is not good enough. We can do better with a reconciliation approach to ecology.
Reconciliation Ecology is the science of inventing, establishing and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work or play
We can overcome degradation of water quality whether it was caused by parking lots or pasture land grazing improvements. Here's how!
The oxygen intake from the atmosphere by diffusion is 1.5 g/m2/day in small ponds and 4.8 g/m2/day in big ponds, where the wind action is stronger. Our patent pending "Sunbubbler Power Saver," takes maximum advantage of this massive natural oxygen transfer increase when the wind blows. In strong winds, you only need to mix most bodies of water using a tiny fraction of the original design power, regardless of the system used. Makes you wonder about the value of old school windmill aerators, doesn't it?
Now, back to studies of the oxygen consumption in pond bottom sediment that show 1-3 g/m2/day.
Except on very windy days, this leaves little or no oxygen available in the pond for fish without some supplemental aeration.
Adding just a coffee can of fish food, a little fertilizer runoff, and a few fresh grass clippings on a summer day and your pond is in serious oxygen trouble. Your pond needs supplemental aeration, especially in the heat of the summer months when its harder to get oxygen into the pond or if your pond gets snow covered ice during the cold northern winter months preventing wind and algae from doing the aeration job.
IV. Sustainable Solar Aerator Design
1. Our PEC solar aerator models can easily provide 0.1-10 cfm of medium fine air bubbles. Even our smallest unit, the EKBS-10, easily supplies the mixing and oxygen transfer needed to take maximum advantage of natural diffusion.
A massive increase in surface renewal oxygen transfer using just a few bubbles from a 20 watt solar panel and a 6 watt air pump!
Unfortunately, as all ponds age, based on sediment/nutrient build-up, high pH levels and large oxygen starved areas can develop in any pond quickly. Aeration can tip the pH scales to improve the biology in the pond increasing respiration and reducing photosynthesis (algae) while improving your ponds water quality. One alternative to aeration is adding pH or algae control chemicals as a short term emergency response. However, it only delay's the algae problem without removing the excess nutrients in the water. These excess nutrients continue to promote huge algae blooms after the chemicals or coloring compounds dissipate.
A tiny amount of bubble mixing energy can promote surface renewal and double the oxygen intake of natural diffusion in ponds. Even in intensive aquaculture operations, maintaining a high dissolved oxygen concentration everywhere in the pond has simply not been shown to be economically justifiable. Instead, fish farming professionals and state agencies aerate only to provide highly oxygenated aeration zones or "fish safe" zones to prevent fish kills, control algae, strip toxic gases, stabilize CO2 levels, destratify pond thermal layers, and control mosquito breeding. Using just one of our EKBS-10 fish zone aerators for up to 50 lbs of fish (1/4 surface acre max.) and/or one of our larger EKBS-15 units for up to 100 lbs of actively feeding fish (1/4 to 1/2 surface acre) is a simple green solution. If you use atmospheric air to aerate water, no matter how many bubbles you see, or how much splashing/mixing you do, you can only get around 8 lbs of oxygen to dissolve in a million gallons of water. For example, sewer plant treated water by US law needs to have a dissolved oxygen demand no greater than 2 lbs/day per million gallons of water. So if you have a solar powered zone aerator that can put 2 lbs/day of oxygen in a million gallons of water (even our smallest EKBS-10 solar aerator provides 1 lb/day), you are good-to-go from an aeration standpoint for odor control, non-intensive fish farming, and mosquito abatement. The other most often asked question is "how much mixing" energy do you need to disperse the oxygen rich aerated water. Well, from an oxygen dispersion standpoint there is no such thing as a mixing limited pond design when using conventional diffused air. The aerated, oxygen saturated zones, will gradually disperse throughout the entire pond. However, if you have water flowing through a pond, always place the air diffuser as far away from the pond discharge or overflow as possible, otherwise simply locate it near to the spot where you want the big fish to hang out. Clemson University studies, USDA fish hatchery studies, et al., have demonstrated that 1 cfm of air flow is adequate to maintain high oxygen transfer and mixing for a 1 acre fish pond. DO NOT apply more than 350-746 watts ( 1/2 to 1 HP) per surface acre for recreational ponds because you will partially suspend solids that can cause other major problems. High energy aeration levels increase turbidity problems and can kill fish (EPA studies do support these higher energy levels for sewage treatment). When using our lowest cost of ownership approach, PEC solar bubbler aerators, can properly mix and aerate ponds, with up to 50 watts per surface acre if you are not actively feeding fish and up to 350 watts/acre if you are actively feeding up to 1000 lbs of fish each day.
2. Solar Powered Diffused Aeration Costs?
Since solar power is free energy, solar aerators cost of ownership comes down to capital costs and maintenance. Both costs are a direct function of how deep you place the air diffusers and the length of the airlines to the diffusers. A simple one foot increase in diffuser depth can result in a 1% increase in oxygen transfer along with a 1% decrease in airflow and a 100% increase in solar power capital costs. Maintaining higher airflow volumes at greater depths means more energy and greater capital and maintenance costs. Floating diffusers, airlines, and floating draft tube airlift pumps that draw water from the bottom of any depth pond allow you to reduce energy resulting in reduced capital and maintenance costs while still maintaining high oxygen transfer and mixing characteristics.
3. Simple Designs Work Best at lowest TCO.
PEC's approach to solar aerator design cuts through the pricing maze of our competitors. Interchangeable PEC pumps and PEC PV panels allow us to provide 24/7 aeration with any Sunbubbler model using the available sunlight from Chicago to SanDiego at one fixed price.
SUSTAINABLE PEC SOLAR POWERED AERATORS MAKE FISH SAFE ZONES ANYWHERE IN THE POND, 24/7. THERE IS NO "OFF" SWITCH.
UNSUSTAINABLE GRID POWERED UNITS GET TURNED "OFF" DUE TO POWER COSTS AND THUS MAKE "FISH KILL" ZONES THROUGHOUT YOUR POND.
DON'T CREATE "FISH KILL ZONES", STICK WITH 100% SOLAR POWERED AERATORS.
Aeration is necessary to maintain oxygen in pond water to keep ponds healthy and prevent hypoxia. In all non-aerated/non-mixed ponds, stagnant fish cages, and algae blocked ponds, only the first few inches of the pond hold dissolved oxygen and that oxygen content decreases rapidly at night. This is because algae and cyanobacteria which produce excess oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere during the day, switch metabolism at night, and quickly use up pond water oxygen. This natural process depletes almost all of the water oxygen supply. In turn the biological balance is destroyed and all pond life could die within hours. Oxygen depletion occurs even more rapidly when ponds are covered in ice or when weather suddenly mixes the non-aerated and aerated water.
Don't be fooled by high power aeration like fountains or splashers that use +$450/mo. in electricity, or low power circulators that provide very low levels of oxygen transfer by surface renewal and require daily "leaf unplugging" maintenance . Don't be mislead by windmills and daylight only timer controlled solar systems. Those systems can only run for a few hours each day (max. 20 hrs if you don't run on weekends), and their "deep water" designs periodically disturb bottom muck. MIXING UP BOTTOM MUCK creates MORE STRESS on fish and water quality than no aeration at all. DO NOT use bottom mounted diffusers in winter in order to prevent super-cooling the warm bottom water and shocking fish. Use our floating draft tube aerators, bottom risers, or shoreline periphery diffusers instead.
Yes, we do offer bottom mounted diffuser systems with no power bills as well. However, our deep water hybrid systems run 24/7 with up to 3 cloudy days in a row.
BOTTOM MOUNTING A DIFFUSER BURNS LOTS OF ENERGY!
Our standardized floating diffuser solar systems perform better than our deep water hybrid systems. One reason is almost all of the oxygen dissolved into the water from an air bubble occurs when the bubble is being formed. Only a *negligible amount of oxygen transfer occurs during the bubbles transit to the surface. However, a large amount of the bubble energy can be utilized after formation, simply by making the bubble do work. Placing the bubble inside a vertical tube causes it to move water from the lower end of the tube and pump it to the surface. In this manner it takes the same amount of energy to aerate and mix water at any pond depth. In contrast, bottom mounted diffusers almost double consumed power for every few feet of pond water depth.
* A 1% increase in oxygen transfer and mixing for every foot of diffuser water depth does not justify the accompanying 100% increase in capital cost for additional solar panels. Especially when dealing with 100% free solar power.
If you are NOT aerating your pond or lake now, then it is stratified. Typically this means the top few inches of water are saturated with oxygen while directly below are many layers of anoxic toxic water. A violent storm can quickly mix these layers causing a serious fish kill.
When you aerate and destratify the pond water you can turn the whole pond into a dissolved oxygen storage zone and eliminate this dangerous scenario.