Friday, July 12, 2013

"Can Powdered Water Cure Droughts?"

Some years ago I was approached by a company seeking financing for their powdered vodka.
When I was done laughing I had some research done on the principals and decided against doing anything with them.

As it turned out the SEC eventually shut down another of their enterprises, thus besmirching the otherwise pristine reputation of the Boca Raton investment community. The powdered booze however turned out to be real, albeit with a patent owned by General Foods rather than the scamsters.
Who knew?

From Modern Farming:

Solid Rain looks like sugar, and it sells for $25 a pound. And if you’re a bit skeptical of its maker’s claims, we understand. This Mexican product, which bills itself as a miracle powder that could solve the world’s drought problems, seems like it belongs right alongside magic beans and Herbalife on the “I wasn’t born yesterday” spectrum.

But rest assured: Solid Rain is very real, and very effective.

Solid Rain’s inventor, Sergio Jésus Rico Velasco, is a Mexican chemical engineer who spent decades trying to mitigate his country’s drought issues. His initial inspiration for Solid Rain was baby diapers, an item that absorbs lots of liquid in a minimal space.

That’s the basic process used by Solid Rain — it’s a highly absorbent polymer called potassium polyacrylate, which soaks in water up to 500 times its original size. A whole liter of water can be absorbed in just 10 grams of Solid Rain, which converts into a thick, translucent gel. The water is then retained for up to a year, and it will not evaporate, run off into the soil or go anywhere until it’s consumed by a plant’s roots. Think of it like a little powdered reservoir.

The Mexican government conducted a one-season sample study on farmers in the semi-arid state of Hidalgo. Side-by-side, farm plots showed up to 300 percent increases in crop yield when Solid Rain was used. For instance, the comparison of oatmeal showed a huge jump in yields — 2500 kg per hectare  in fields without Solid Rain versus 5000 kg per hectare in fields with it. Sunflowers were 1000 kg per hectare versus 3000 kg. And bean yields went through the roof, with a difference of 450 kg per hectare versus 3000 kg.

Solid Rain has been nominated twice for a Global Water Award by the Stockholm International Water Institute, it received the Ecology and Environment award from the Fundacion Miguel Aleman, and it’s been used in Mexico for a decade. But chances are, you’ve never heard of it until now. That may be simply a failure in marketing....MORE
Also at Modern Farming:
Meet New York’s Urban Cheesemakers