The Pennington Shelter
Engineering & Humanity Week will be at the SMU campus April 15-20. The centerpiece of E&H Week 2012 is The Living Village, a hands-on exhibit on the SMU campus adjacent to the Lyle School of Engineering. Check out Dave’s exhibit there. http://eandhweek.org/
David Pennington’s passion for aquaponics—the science of efficient food production in a water-based system—has led to the development of a dome shelter made mostly of waste EPS (expanded polystyrene, commonly known by the trade name “Styrofoam”).
Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) with aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms. As CEO of Synergy Aquaponics LLC, Dave designs aquaponic systems in which fish waste is filtered and cleaned using plants. The waste byproducts from aquaculture, which are otherwise serious pollutants, are thereby turned into valuable products.
Dave has built a prototype dome structure out of waste EPS near Poetry, Texas. He originally came up with this concept because there wasn’t an affordable insulated structure on the market to house aquaculture species, such as Tilapia. As it turns out, the same building method can also be used to construct affordable and efficient housing for people, which is the purpose of the Poetry dome.
To build his domes, Dave affixes an inflated balloon form to a “base ring”. A center pole attached to a rotating scaffold allows workers access to spray or hand apply Dave’s EPS composite material which, when smoothed and hardened makes a durable insulated shelter or containment vessel. The dome structure—20 feet in diameter and 14 feet tall—is very durable, fireproof, insect and impact resistant, and it can also be recycled repeatedly.
Scale models of various dome designs, along with photos and videos of the first prototype dome, will be on display in the Living Village at SMU as will composite samples, construction machinery and even a small aquaponic unit.