Hello All! Welcome to another IBEKA Update. This week, we’ve been continuing to work on our tank setup. We secured a raspberry pi, the resistors we need, and a wired keyboard to connect to the monitor. We set up the breadboard and are working to locate a micro HDMI to HDMI cable to check and debug the raspberry pi. On the research front, we’ve done some initial research into tidal power and have decided that tidal hasn’t been proven out enough for our projected use case. Thus, we will continue to summarize IBEKAs tidal research for future ESW teams, but will proceed primarily with solar research. Our initial testing tanks should also prove whether we are able to run biorock on approximately 12 hours of power (solar power) per day, as opposed to 24 hours a day. If we are able to run biorock on only 12 hours of power per day, we do not think we’ll need an additional power source. Overall, we’ve been having a lot of fun learning about electronics!
This week, IBEKA worked on prototyping our coral stress tanks. These coral stress tanks are the first step in our experimentation to test the feasibility of the biorock process. For this initial testing, the first step is to use a raspberry pi, temperature probes, a heater, and a pump to control the temperature of the water in a tank. By controlling the temperature in the tank, we’ll be able to recreate the conditions including the temperature ramp of the areas of Indonesia we’d like to study. Using this setup, we’d be able to periodically sample the temperature of the water in the tank and program the heater to heat the water when the water is too cold, then turn off the heater once we’ve reached a desired temperature. The materials came in last week. First, we read through some documentation and watched some YouTube videos on how to make the coral tanks. In our explorations, we ran across a few issues: we didn’t have the right resistors, were missing some wire strippers, scissors, a microSD card reader, and a screwdriver appropriate for our purposes. Additionally, in this first worksession, we realized we had purchased a kit for the raspberry pi but not the raspberry pi itself! We located wire strippers, scissors, resistors and a screwdriver over the course of our work session and were able to work through the mechanical setup of the AC relay, including temperature probe and pump. Additionally, it was very helpful to work through the tutorials and meet some of our team members in person! Later in the week, we ordered a raspberry pi and made a plan for how we will connect to ethernet during our next worksession. Looking forward to more prototyping progress in the coming weeks!
Ibeka entered spring quarter with the goal of developing a coral stress tank experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of biorock. We will continue researching various topics related to the mobile power plant, including solar and tidal power, longevity and output requirements, and possibilities for anchoring and mobilizing. However, for the duration of the quarter we will prioritize prototyping and testing the coral tanks.
This week, as we were waiting for our supplies to arrive, we re-evaluated our timeline and implementation goals and updated our task sheet. In addition, we debriefed on the current stress tank set up and specs. The goal of our stress tank will be to simulate bleaching inducing conditions on real reefs and compare the response of corals in tanks with and without the biorock process. As a refresher, the biorock process involves applying a low voltage through a conductive reef support structure, which causes coral building calcium carbonate to precipitate from surrounding ocean water.
Our current tank setup uses a raspberry pi to control an aquarium heater, allowing the rank to heat and cool along a curve that mimics in situ temperature profiles. The process is adapted from coral stress tanks designed by Dr. Stephen Palumbi and John Palumbi. Their tanks are intended to be scaled for citizen science applications and coral restoration projects like our own. Our team will have to integrate the biorock process into the existing tank set up, and ensure that the code controlling the heater supports stable stable temperature ramps that emulate patterns seen on reefs.
We have met twice this quarter, and decided to meet on both Wednesdays and Fridays for the duration of the quarter.
Our supplies arrived on Friday April 9th, and we’re excited to spend the coming week building and iterating on the current set up. Stay tuned for more pictures and details on the tanks!