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FAQ's

Q) Describe the system, how it is constructed, what it does to the waste (especially how it destroys pathogens), the compost by-product, and time sequence from the first use of a cell through harvesting of the compost.

A) As outlined by Ronald Albrecht, a grant advisor to RWF, The main elements of the facility are a reactor bed and a curing/storage area.

1) A crescent shaped earth berm with an access road and work areas on the top. The berm serves as a work surface for the equipment used to transport and place the wastes into the reactor and acts as a back wall for the materials used in the reactor. The roadways and work areas are hard panned with crushed stone to provide all weather access and aid site housekeeping. It also diverts oncoming surface water around the reactor as part of the environmental control system.

2) A reactor built of carbonaceous material able to support microbial life. Conventional earthmoving equipment is used to place that material with the berm acting as a back wall. It should be noted that any high carbon material capable of supporting microbial life, not subject to rapid decay, and having sufficient structural strength to maintain the bed shape without undue settlement can be used. Suitable materials include straw, wood chips, sawdust, and bark etc.

3) A compost curing and storage area located at the same elevation as the berm provides for the further enhancement of the compost and the accumulation of large quantities of compost to satisfy seasonal market demand. A truck loading ramp is adjacent to this area.

Q) What is the size of the market for RWF's process?

A) At this moment the actual size of the market is very difficult to enumerate. This is because the process not only works for the small farmer, but large municipalities. Given the opportunity, the RWF method can handle any carbon based waste, therefore opening up the system for worldwide use.

Q) What specific market segments will the firm pursue?

A) The RWF method would like to pursue the areas of agriculture; small farms, large farms, and industrial farms. Any industrial business that produces carbon based waste, for example furniture factories is a candidate. The RWF method would also focus on municipalities, ranging from small towns to large cities.

Q) What is the smallest and largest waste stream that would be practical for application of the RWF method?

A) The smallest site would be a minimum of 100 cubic yards of reactor base while the largest would be above 200,000 cubic yards.

Q) What is the anticipated impact of new environmental regulations in various states (must systems be approved by state regulators and does this system qualify?), at the national level and in other areas of the world?

A) The RWF method is designed such that it can conform to any sensible environmental regulations.

Q) What is the market share of competing systems and how will RWF compete with them on price, environmental impact, and customer service?

A) Large composting systems are relatively new to our economy, therefore it is very difficult if not impossible to determine the actual market share of each different system. There are however, many different systems, which include static piles, windrow, and digesters. The RWF method is superior to all three in time energy and economics. The static pile system is technically cheaper in initial cost than the RWF method, but requires 100% harvest which increases the total cost and lowers the piles efficiency. The windrow method because of its specialized equipment, turners, is only second in price to the digesters, turners start at $300,000. Windrow is also inferior to the RWF method in that it can only handle 7,000 cubic yards an acre as opposed to 40,000 cubic yards. Digesters are by far the most expensive method of composting. They require large buildings, specialized equipment, computers, and constant monitoring. Digesters require high maintenance and produce an inferior product.

Q) Are you just selling a license to use the technology, or are you selling a turnkey system with or without follow-up technical assistance?

A) For best quality control we plan on selling a turnkey system with technical follow-up assistance.

Q) To what extent will you sell to the final customer, and to what extent do you plan to work with other organizations that will represent and install the system for clients?

A) In the beginning RWF will work directly with its clients, both in installation and technical support. As the company grows it will probably be necessary to work with some sort of organization for installation. RWF will, however always be available to technical support.

Q) What is the risk of someone copying the process with some slight variation in order to avoid the patent restrictions?

A) We can not see an area that can be manipulated in order to avoid our patent restrictions. As far as RWF can tell any area that may be manipulated in hopes of avoiding the patent protection would either compromise the product, or directly infringe the patent. Please refer to the patent.

Q) Does the patent protect the process from all feasible modifications?

A) Yes

Q) Does the potential for changing environmental regulations pose any significant threat to the business? Anything else?

A) As long as the new regulations are sensible to large scale composting the RWF method will be able to accommodate any new regulations. Due to the fact that the environment only composts aerobically or anearobically there is very little room for change.

Q) What is the durability of the system and are there any issues regarding its sustainability over time?

A) We have found that a thirty foot pile, measuring 200 ft. by 30 ft. by 30 ft., is able to withstand a truck weighing over 22 tons with no significant structural changes to the pile. With minimum maintenance the reactor bed will retain its integrity for hundreds of years.

Q) What will be the ongoing operating cost for the client?

A) The client will be able to choose from four different operating methods. Cost of operation depends solely on which method the client chooses. The first method is an aerobic anaerobic static pile, the least expensive system to operate. It requires only a back hoe and, if desired, a truck. Daily cost is determinate on how vigorously the client uses the reactor bed/bioengine. The second method is an aerated, anaerobic aerobic static pile. The price of this system is determined by the equipment to aerate the reactor pit, be it manually operated or automated. The third method incorporates water injection and is also determined solely on the equipment chosen. The fourth method is a system that injects both water and air into the reactor pit. Again the operating costs for all three methods of injection depends on the type of injectors used. The overall cost for all the systems is determined by the rate of speed the client wishes to run the bioengine.

Q) How does the compost figure into all of this as a product with market value?

A) As has been seen from the small home gardeners need for soil to the large scale landscaper and farmer, the market value for a quality fertilizer and topsoil replacement is in high demand.

Q) What experimental results do you have to verify the quality and efficiency of the system?

A) We have tests and results from the sites at Hardin Rd., Berea, ASU, and the Surry County Farm, and will produce the results upon request.

 

Q) How Safe is Rockwater Farms Compost?

A) Rockwater farms Compost is the byproduct of a composting process that was developed to solve the problems of managing animal moralities. That means the compost does contain, along with composted vegetative material, the composted remains of animals which died of natural or other unforeseen causes other than disease.

The composting of animal remains does introduce possible pathogens into the process, but these are completely eliminated through the combination of the composting process itself coupled with additional maturing time that Rockwater Farms requires before making its compost available for sale.

The following table shows the survival times of pathogens

Giardia--1 year
Cryptosporidium--over 1 year
Slamonella--13-75 days
Campylobacter--over 112 days
E. Coli 0157--10-100 days
Yersina entercolitica--12-28 days

Sources:
Olson M.E., Goh J., Phillips M., Guselle N., McAllister T.A. Giardia cyst and Cryptosporidium oocyst survival in water soil and cattle feces. J. Environ Quality 1999; 28: 1991-1996.                       
Olson M.E., Interactions between Pathogens and Swine Manure, Prairie Swine Centre Focus on the Future Conference 2003 proceedings, Saskatoon, March 25-26, 2003

By aging its compost to at least two years (730 days), Rockwater Farms assures it is safe to use in any application including vegetable gardens.

 

 


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