Recently BrainHive was involved in a business planning work for the ReviveAmatitlan.org initiative in Guatemala, a project geared towards the rehabilitation of the Amatitlan “dead” lake, highly contaminated water body close to the capital of Guatemala, only roughly a 100 km from where in 03/2017 we opened a Coworking/Coliving retreat space. For the benefit of the entrepreneur hailing from the impact sphere, you have the opportunity to look into some of the pitching and business planning documentation. If you are planning an impact projects and are looking for support feel free to apply to the BrainHive charity program, we are excited to hear of your project to make the world a better place.
Revive Amatitlan is an initiative which has already proven its ability to clean up the bulk of sludge found in one of Guatemalas both most precious as well as most contaminated water bodies, the Amatitlan Lake. The initiative uses large floating turbines that through a biochemical process convert water sludge into energy.
A unique topography sporting only one river that causes 90% of Amatitlan’s eco-damage allows for an intelligent three tier project development plan. First a small lagoon off on the far eastern side of the lake is cleared to prove to the public that it is possible to use the technology at a larger scale. The second tier is part of the real estate development holding which is also an element of this initiatives start up plan. It is planned to buy up a lot of real estate at the mouth of the lake (where currently the prices of very low due to the heavy contamination), then revive the water body and use the rising real estate prices to transform a larger and larger pieces of the lake. Eventually, this process will lead to the third phase of the project development which includes the cleaning of the entire lake mouth and subsequently the whole lake will be cleansed.
The cost for the first project phase lies around $200,000 to install the required number of turbines and ensure operation (installation and maintenance) for the first two years. The second phase will require another round of funding in the category of US$1 million (about half-half real estate purchases and tech asset investments / operations) and lastly the third phase will presumably require another $2 million (80% real estate investment). It is to be assumed that the transformation of the lake Amatitlan will have a strong impact on the real estate prices and the real estate purchased in the pursuit of an ideal site for the deployment of the turbines will triple or quadruple in value, as the northern Amatitlan lakefront is only 22 min. away from the airport and unites both an ideal urban location and an idyllic natural setting.
The team currently consists mainly of one experienced US entrepreneur living in Guatemala already many years and a small number of volunteers who deliver technical or consulting work. Mr. Douglas Leavis has a deep-seated passion for environmental restoration and already invested upwards of $60,000 of his own money in this project. The turbines he put to work by the piece of property that he owns on the lake have rendered fantastic results, the cleansing effect visible even in Google Maps.
The project has not been able to advance as quickly as desirable due to problems with singular government officials, some of which directly responsible for the total spend on the treatment of the lake having already gone beyond $400US million, much of which has disappeared due to corruption and fraudulent behavior of a contractor. The success of the Revive Amatitlan initiative could lead to the embarrassment of public key figures and it will be necessary to launch a lot of public and media work to create enough of a lobby for an approval to fully go forward.
Added: Account of the CEO on land value and usage
The value of the land in Amatitlan will dramatically increase when the water is cleaner of course, but will also increase as the lake gets deeper. Sea planes and boats require several meters minimum of depth and more if their props are to not turn up muddy water. Basically, the deeper the lagoon the more valuable will be the surrounding property.
The first lagoon is only 1 to 1.5 meters deep. bio-dredging occurs under each machine, sludge from hog farms slides into this ever forming hole thereby expanding circumferentially as the machine dredges ever deeper. this free circumferentially expanding effect will likely occur to a much lesser extent in Amatitlan than it does in pure hog waste for example, due to the sand and rocks not sliding sideways as easily as does liquified sludge.
Therefore, in order to more uniformly bio dredge the first lagoon, many more machines should be temporarily deployed until such time as the lagoon is considered deep enough or system is no longer making the lagoon deeper. I suspect that the lagoon could be made to be 10 meters deep in a couple of years by using 15 machines. Once the lagoon has reached the desired or the maximum depth, ten could be
moved to another location. The remaining five machines are sufficient to keep that water clean and to prevent the lagoon from filling up with sludge again.
Each machine is $12,000, including installation and maintenance hopefully including electrical hook up as well. The total price to Bio-dredge and to make this the cleanest lake in Central America is, therefore, $180,000. We don’t yet know the price the land. More importantly, what the value of the land would be after the lagoon is clean, several meters deep and only 1/2 hour to the airport? What is the maximum value proposition of a lakeside property ten minutes from VAS which is another 22 minutes to the airport? High-end housing? Hotel? Housing and offices similar to Cayala? TEC building, with full-on makerspace, including 5’x10 CNC router with housing?
The water in this lagoon could be a great source of drinking water for the community. The additional components to make drinking water include two 15 hp or so floating water pumps and cavitation tubes, cavitating venturies, 800 square meters of Biologically Aerated Filter material, 15 inverted helical impellers.
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