Eritrean Cactus

Echosphere Technology

This novel concept relates to a protective and encapsulated micro-environment for seeds in its dry state and when hydrated (moisture having been absorbed), it provides a self-contained 'back-pack' to protect, nourish and sustain the germinating seedling / sapling through to establishment stage where its root system can tap into the natural water tables moisture. This self-contained seed germination and young plant 'survival-pack' promises to allow for successful sowing in arid / semi -arid soils (incl. temperate climatic conditions) and degraded tropical soil environments.

This technology hopes to provide an independent and dependable source of moisture and nutrients for the benefit of the pod-specific seedling during its critical germination period of growth. In a sense, this is a smart way of having access to a limited but crucial source of moisture for its first few weeks of life and is designed such that it should be enough to keep it alive long enough to survive.

The seeds will probably be chosen for their drought and salt tolerant characteristics and also be 'Pre-prepared Germinated Seeds' while the chemical /fertiliser mix will have been determined in advance of the contract as to the amount needed based on known data of the soil conditions in the land area to be treated.

The Ecosphere, regardless of form (pod, tubular or mat), would absorb rain / ground water or artificially applied and measured amounts of water and then hydrate and expand as the hydrogel / nutrient mix within the porous shell turns into a moist gel, approximately 400 times its own weight. Once the rains have stopped or the ambient air relative to the colder water warms up due to the suns heat, the shell's pores close and in so doing, prevent the moisture inside from evaporating.

This new temperature 'smart' bi-polymer layered material has laser etched pores which, though originally intended to protect perishable foods while being transported, has been 'reversed' to work as the shell of the Ecosphere by sensing cooler temperatures when it rains such that the pores open to let the water into the pod which are then absorbed by the Hydrogel mix. Once the material senses hotter ambient air temperatures again, the pores will close and prevent moisture evaporation, thus enabling the pod to retain its moisture exclusively for the use of the germinating seedling. The Hydrogel / Fertiliser / Fungicide mix would make up the second main material component with the seeds being the third part of the product.

For the purposes of encouraging the use of this technology by farmers, after several weeks of gradual dehydration, assuming a hydroponics drip-tube is laid beside each tubular Ecosphere (or other means of applying a small amount of 'measured' water), the taps can be turned on once more to rehydrate it and prolong the water storage capacity to secure the survival of the young plant / crop. Note that the Ecosphere technology has the capacity to absorb 'morning dew' to top up each day its moisture content! This has the added benefit of consuming very little fresh water (compared to conventional practice), thereby reducing the financial cost to the farmer, the level of salty deposits in the soil and the pollutant runoff into the local environment. Essentially, it reduces wastage of fresh water and chemicals and benefits the health of the environment as well as saving money.

The technology is divided into two devices;

© 2005 Desertbloom Organisation/Foundation