Aquaponics in Peru

Group photo of the 2017 Peru aquaponics crew

In June 2016, Engineers for a Sustainable World students DJ Traina (BSME ’17) and Alfredo Juarez Galeana (BSEE ’17) broke ground on an aquaponics facility with students from the Instituto Superior Tecnológico Trentino Juan Pablo II in the town of Manchay, near Lima, Peru. Aquaponics systems grow fish and vegetables in the same greenhouse while using ten times less water than traditional agriculture. Project partners also include faculty from neighboring La Molina University who will provide aquaculture expertise and materials.

Three SU students working on the raspberry pi sensor

In March 2017, ESW students Armand Shahbazian (BSEE ’17), Emily Mather (BSME ’18) and Heather Bergey (BSCE ’20) traveled to Manchay to install Raspberry Pi-controlled sensors for pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen. 

After testing the system hydraulics, the ISTTJP team installed a solar array that will charge two lead-acid batteries. Because electricity is unreliable in Manchay, the batteries will continuously power an air pump that will provide oxygen to the fish tanks. The ISTTJP team also started a vermiculture composting program for cafeteria food waste from this school of over 500 students. The worms that are grown are ground into fish food and will reduce the overall operational cost.

UPDATE - February 2019

After nearly two years of operation the pilot system is functioning well! We estimate that the annual fish and lettuce has a market value of approximately $1000. The next phase of the project will involve scaling the system so that enough revenue can be generated to support five full-time workers. An acre of land has been purchased, and it has access to both water and electricity. 

We need your help to make the second phase of the project a reality. We hope to start construction in June 2019 - can you help?!  Please support this work, and donate whatever you can here, thank you!.

We sincerely thank Lightshine, the Seattle University College of Science and Engineering, and all of our individual donors for supporting this project.