The ZooPoo Exhibit

by Mark Edwards

ZooPoo will benefit zoo visitors of every age. The learning facility will serve as a gathering point for environmental and socially conscious networks. ZooPoo provides engaging learning opportunities for people interested in carbon neutral production of food and energy, ecologically sensitive lifestyles as well as water, food and energy conservation. The facility will support extensive R&D plus visual, interactive exhibits for sustainable food and energy.

The ZooPoo exhibit will cover several acres. Exhibits will include Peace Microfarms growing algae for several purposes, a microorganism interactive learning center, as well as several satellite exhibits. A consortium of experts will design the exhibits. We will engage environmental design architectural students, as well as professional architects to develop ideas for the learning facility. We will also rely on the Zoo Board of Directors to align the project with the vision and values embedded at the zoo.

There will be interactive displays about the miracles algae has already created. Displays will show how algae were used by ancient cultures for food, feed, fertilizer and medicines. Of course, there will be plenty of nutritious, tasty and free algae-based foods to sample.

The microorganism interactive learning center will bring microbes to life on big screens. Guests will be able to see live microbe interactions including feeding, mating, birthing offspring and the many special things microbes do. Selectable videos will provide entertaining microorganism education. Some lucky guests will be able to perform algae bioprospecting right on site. If they find an organism not already named, they will be able to choose a name for the new organism. Advanced sensors paired with big data and artificial intelligence will assist in the search for new microbes.

The algae biosystems may use bags, tubes or flat plastic rectangles as illustrated in the pictures available at Imagine Our Algae Future. The microorganism interactive learning center will collaborate with Micropia in Amsterdam, the Smithsonian, the Exploratorium in San Francisco and imaginative STEAM, (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning sources such as the Arizona Science Center.

The signature ZooPoo exhibit will display the benefits of Abundance farming methods and Freedom Foods, based on the power of single-celled organisms. The context will be a spaceship traveling for years to distant planets. The astronauts will have to grow their own sustainable food, feed and fertilizer. The interactive display will allow student astronauts to cultivate bioproducts they want for their journey to distant planets with algae.

Images from Micropia in Amsterdam

After student astronauts understand how nano cells can produce sustainable food in a spaceship, their transition back to earth will seem quite simple. They will follow Ana’s journey to create food justice by recycling nutrients and repurposing them for zoo animals, food crops and people. Students will be able to use 3D printers to print a variety of healthy algae-based foods. They will be able to design favored tastes, colors and textures into their food products.

Guests will learn how animal production over-consumes finite resources, uses them once and then pollutes ecosystems. Animal production consumes tremendous amounts of resources and adds substantially to greenhouse gases. For example, one cow-calf pair produces more CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas than a car emits each year. Students will see cows happily growing in pole barns with peaked roofs. Fresh air comes in the sides of the barn while the cows’ substantial methane emitted from both ends of the cow, rise to the peaked roof. When a sensor identifies a sufficient concentration of methane, a pump flows the gas to a combustion chamber, where it is burned for energy that powers the farm’s microgrid. The combustion chamber gasses are piped to an algae raceway to provide carbon for the next algae generation.

At the top level, ZooPoo will focus on the value of the zoo waste stream to demonstrate how energy and nutrients can be recovered, recycled and reused for a wide variety of products and solutions. ZooPoo will demonstrate human future lifestyles in terms of sustainability, conservation, pollution solutions and ecological preservation. ZooPoo will provide practical demonstrations of solutions desperately needed by current societies including how to produce sustainable and affordable carbon neutral food, feed and fuel without using fossil resources.

Several exhibits will demonstrate the substantial value proposition for algae biofertilizer, which is explored in the next installment.