Ponika, Research and Development, Ltd.

Ponika, Research and Development, Ltd.
We have built one of the the largest aquaponics system in Europe. We build, maintain and sell the produce. Our next step is to recover waste heat and produce all year round.
Social Purpose: 
• Resource efficient, circular economy - use up to 100% renewable energy from waste heat that would otherwise heat the atmosphere - system uses up to 90% less water than traditional soil irrigation - aquaculture waste that would otherwise pollute fresh water is biodegraded and reused - aquaponics production recirculates and cleans aquaculture water with zero residuals, • Eco-innovative solution, green economy - phosphorus and potassium are already facing scarcity dues to hydroponics and also soil based agriculture, aquaponics reduces the need for non-organic plant nutrients, - fish production requires chemicals free clean water only, so the system is designed to use natural methods pest and plant controls, thus minimising the effect on environment, - providing organic, premium quality vegetables and fish, grown in nearby sites in the cities, soilless in the controlled environment at competitive prices and low foot mileage is a great base ground to build green economy, - we create sustainable green workplaces, as one additional full time job is created by 200-300m2 of aquaponics production site
Social Impact: 
We have just set up our first aquaponics commercial system (400 m2). This system is for testing the proof of concecpt of aquaponics technology. Our next system planned for 2015 will use waste heat from a biogas plant. The plan is to regularly assess next impacts for each future aquapnic system – with the vision of building more than 200 such systems in the next 10 years: • Resource efficient, circular economy measured in: - tonnes of food produced with no herbicides and near zero-effect on environment, - hectolitres of water saved in comparison to soil production, - tonnes of phosphorus and potassium saved in comparison to soil production, - tonnes of aquaculture waste that would otherwise pollute fresh water that is biodegraded and reused, - kW of waste heat recovered, - number of overall green jobs, - number of young people employed, - number of women in high management.
Innovative Character: 
When we started with our idea aquaponics has just started to be recognized in Europe, now there is at least one aquaponics stat-up in each of the EU countries. We are amongst five European companies that have until now managed to build an operational large-scale aquaponics facility (400 m2). Technologically we are innovative in bringing together aquaponics and industry with waste heat, therefore reducing the costs of winter production and transforming waste into revenue source. But our main strength lies in our business model. If aquaponists from Switzerland say “We don’t sell tomatoes, but you can”, we at ponnod say: “Not only do we help you grow your tomatoes, we also sell them for you”. In this way we tap into the businesses that have waste heat and investment at their disposal, yet do not know enough about food production or food distribution market and is thus too risky for them to get involved into the food production business by themselves. At the same time, the food producers in Central and Eastern Europe, where our main focus is, have extremely low skills and knowledge in marketing, resulting from the fact that most farms are smallholder farms with a very old demographics and almost no agricultural or economic education. We have thus soon realized that we need to build a new cooperative of aquaponics producers whereby we are stronger in the market and can build a reliable, internationally renowned aquaponics food brand. Green jobs for youth Future green jobs that we are building are for highly educated young people that have finished the agronomy or similar studies – those who have the desire and education to work at a farm yet do not have the resources since their parents do not own a farm. We are the generation that has lost too much in the last crisis (youth unemployment rate for Slovenia: 24,2 %) and we are the generation that has the knowledge and the interests to become the new innovative aquaponics farmers at the edge of this new green revolution.
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