Impact Hub Manila Fellowship

Gaia Dam: Energizing a Greener Future

Aviscus is solving the most important problems developing countries faces today - energy insufficiency, food shortage, and flooding. In the Philippines alone, there are still 16 Million Filipinos who does not have access to electricity and the increasing demand for energy results in rotational brownouts throughout the region. Aside from the energy crisis that the country is experiencing, the dam can also help the country to bolster agricultural productivity because of the lower cost to build one and the nutrients and enzymes that the core release when water pass through it. Because we are also prone to natural calamities, the last problem that we are planning to solve is to mitigate disasters such as flooding, landslides and El Nino.

Who faces this problem?

The people who are most affected of these problems are the poor and marginalized sector of our society. They are the ones who are highly vulnerable to these shocks and usually suffers 3 times more compared to the people who are not below the poverty line. Aside from these, they also have little or no resources at all and making it hard for them to prevent, cope, and adapt. Also, because of the worsening effects of climate change, many people will be affected by flooding and loss of properties due to riverine and flash floods. Aside from these problems, the poor people also have limited access to electricity which is essential to escape poverty and

Our target customers for the hydroelectric potential of Gaia Dam are the electric cooperatives, government agencies, NGOs, and private electric distribution corporations who will distribute electricity to far flung areas that are not connected to the grid.

For the Irrigation sector, we are already started to have formal meetings with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewarage System) who will be one of the main customers that we are targeting.

How does your idea address this problem?

Gaia Dam can address these problems depending on how it will be used. Should the dam be used for irrigation, the farmers could benefit by having a more affordable and easy-to-construct structure. The nutrients, proteins, and enzymes that shall be released from the core can help revitalize and replenish the lost nutrients from the soil which was washed away by chemical fertilizers. The materials used to build the dam are environmentally-friendly and recycled. If the dam shall be integrated with a hydroelectric system, then small communities and farms will have access to electricity. One small dam can serve 50-80 hectares of irrigable land and up to 1 MW of electricity can be produced. When the dam shall be used as a disaster mitigating structure – flood walls, levees, and coastal barrier – then the number people who will benefit from it shall be greater because these calamities have a greater range and will affect everyone within it. The quantitative metric to be used for irrigation and hydroelectric shall be dependent on the increase in crops yield, electricity produced, and cost savings against concrete dams.

What’s new and unique about your idea?

The invention has several benefits and unique features, which could be summarized into 4 - E’s; Economic, Environment-friendly, Easy to construct, and Equally effective. Second, the dam is environmentally friendly. It is because of the incorporation of recycled materials and an organic core in the design. By adding the specialized core material inside the dam, this technology provides added nutrients to the water that passes through it, which is delivered to the crops by the irrigation system. Third, the invention is easy to construct. The dam could be constructed and deployed by workers faster and easier, and may not require the use of heavy equipment. It was designed primarily to provide an affordable alternative for farmers to have their own diversion and mini hydroelectric dam to cater both irrigation and provision of power supply to their lands. Fourth, the innovation is equally effective. The dam and its core were subjected to different laboratory and field tests and the results showed its efficiency in impounding water for providing water to farms and small communities.

How are you going to earn money?

Similar on how construction companies generate their income, Aviscus is self-sustaining by making profit for every projects that we do in order to sustain its employees and operations. Aside from the design and construction services that we offer, we shall also provide a non-exclusive license to companies who are interested to use the product in their projects. 

Do you already have customers?

Aviscus Construction Corporation currently has some design projects while the Gaia Dam is now being discussed with two government agencies in order to conduct pilot testing so that the design will be accepted and incorporated in their design catalog. These agency requested pilot testing at one of their sites.

Who is in your team?

Our team is composed of Engineers - Civil, Structural and Geotechnical - and an Architect who are all based in the Philippines. The CEO, Kent, has worked as a climate scientist in the Philippine Government's flagship program in Disaster Risk Assessment and Mitigation and as a water-engineering consultant before working overseas in US Military Projects in Guam. He co-invented Gaia Dam with Rhey, who worked as a business area engineer in one of the most prestigious water distribution companies in the Philippines.

The construction manager in our team has worked as project manager in several seismic retrofitting of seven water pumping stations and as planning engineer in one of the Waste Water Treatment Facilities in Luzon.

Ian, the Engineering Manager of Aviscus worked as the Chief of the Enhancing Landslide Hazard Maps through LiDar Division of the Department of Science and Technology - Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (DOST-NOAH) and a consultant for several Geotechnical projects around the country.

Jeanne, the Design Manager of Aviscus, is a registered architect who worked in an international architecture firm that design modern and sustainable structures.

To compliment the founders, the thesis advisors of the inventors are also the technical advisors of Aviscus. Dr. Mark Zarco is renowned geotechnical engineer, scientist, and consultant who lead several government researches and projects especially in the field of landslide and geomechanics. Dr. Leonardo Liongson on the other hand, is an internationally known and recognized water and climate scientist who works with UNESCO, IHP, and other scientific organizations. Lastly, the UP-OVCRD is assisting the team in protecting and patenting as well as marketing and commercializing the technology.

Have you already founded/incorporated your company?

Yes

What is the intended positive impact on the environment and/or society of your venture?

The intended positive impact that the venture is pushing forwards is to help people to have access to electricity while having ecological balance in the process. Gaia Dam is composed of recycled and organic materials which makes better compared to its competitors - Concrete and Clay-Cored dams. Aside from this, a hydropower system integrated in the dam can actually produce clean energy that people can use. By having a sustainable energy source that don't require a standard power grid, this could be the first step out of poverty for the people in rural communities who lack electricity.

Together with these impacts and the other social impacts that Gaia Dam can bring into the environment and society, we believe that this invention will definitely revolutionize the energy and agricultural sector of the Philippines.

How will the Fellowship Program enable you to achieve your ambitions?

The Fellowship Program of Impact Hub Manila will definitely help us accelerate and reach our grow faster. I believe that the grant and mentorship can truly help Aviscus to create positive impacts around the world through Gaia Dam.

For the next 3 years, the main goal of the company is to upgrade its construction category to AAA Company. Being such will increase the cost of projects that the company can bid in order to develop the business further and hire key employees for the company's future.

 

Are you living in the Philippines?

Yes

Jeremie Diaz Jul 20, 2016

The Gaia Dam prototype is dual functional. It does not only address the irrigation problem of our farmers but also the electricity shortage particularly in off-grid areas. But curiously enough, how would Gaia Dam work during times of drought? Or is that a major concern as a selling point for your product? Also, have you identified what particular areas in the country the Gaia Dam would work both as an irrigation device and electricity provider for communities? Thanks.

Users tagged:

Reply 0

Kent Renier Carandang Jul 20, 2016

Hi Jeremie! Thank you for your interest in Gaia Dam. Yes actually aside from irrigation and energy, it can also help mitigate disasters such as flooding, storm surges, and landslides.

To answer your question, Gaia Dam can function all-year-round. During drought, it will function as an impounding dam to store water for irrigation and energy during those low season. So basically, the low dam can cover in either rainy or dry season. Our main selling point as iterated in our application are the 4E's - Economic, Environmental-Friendly, Easy-to-Construct, and Equally Effective.

Yes, there are some areas already identified by the government that needs small dams and in-line with the Government's priority to provide free irrigation to empower the poor and provide energy whenever possible, there will definitely an increase demand on low-cost small dams throughout the country in the near future.

Users tagged:

Reply 1

Leon Carlo Valencia Jul 20, 2016

Ah, so Gaia Dam has actually been tested already to withstand landslides? Because I was about to ask that since our country is typhoon infested and plagued with deforestation.

Users tagged:

Reply 0

View all replies (2)

Leon Carlo Valencia Jul 20, 2016

I don't know if this is a stupid question... if it is pardon the ignorance as I know nothing about civil engineering and construction:
Anyway, the picture shows that some parts of Gaia Dam are wood? Or is that a pre-operational picture (i.e. the wooden parts are for construction purposes only)? If it's the former, how often should maintenance be done? If so, is maintenance automatically a part of what is sold?

Users tagged:

Reply 1

Kyle Bo Jul 20, 2016

You mentioned the use of organic materials as the core for Gaia Dam... that should affect structural integrity due to decay from inside. As such, how often should maintenance be scheduled? And also, how long is the total life expectancy?

Users tagged:

Reply 0

Kent Renier Carandang Jul 21, 2016

Hello Kyle! Thanks for the question. Yes, there are some organic materials in the core of Gaia Dam but it will not affect its structural integrity. The gabions are responsible in stabilizing the structure. Maintenance for the core will depends on the purpose why the dam was constructed. If it's main purpose is to act as an impounding dam for irrigation, you may opt to change the core approximately every six months to harness the added benefit of the nutrients and enzymes from it. If it will be used otherwise, you don't need to replace the core because the voids that these materials will leave shall be replaced by the silt present in streams, thus, you will have an impermeable core for effective impounding of water. Such structures are designed to last for 10-15 years.

Users tagged:

Reply 1

Michael White Jul 21, 2016

I am interested in cost per linear meter and for height. I am in need of constructing a dam at 3 plus meters high, approximately 50 meters wide, as well as a 2 meter high dam over 110 meters in length. How will your cost compare to a mud/cement block dam with 4 inch cement covering face. The area has high water flow in the winter and will be located in Masbate in the province only accessible by banca

Reply 0

Michael White Jul 21, 2016

Second part of question is what creates electricity, and as mentioned by Jeremie, we have drought conditions, which is purpose of dam, but water flow will be very minimal.

Reply 0

Share