Industrial - Honours

Microbe Dispenary: Vermicast Brewing System

The Microbe Dispensary is a large-scale vermicast brewing system for the agricultural industry. The brewing system facilitates soil regeneration through enabling the extraction of microbiology from vermicast and transforms it into 2000L of liquid soil amendment concentrate.


Soil Regeneration for Carbon Sequestration and Food Security

Extensive literature reviews and interviews with key stakeholders within the agricultural industry uncovered significant concerns surrounding declining soil health and the negative impacts this has on food security and greenhouse gas emissions. The decline in soil health was predominantly identified within conventional farming management practices such as chemical pesticides, insecticide & herbicides, tillage, monocropping and a lack of organic matter input. The extractive farming practices reduce the ‘life’ of the soil through its detrimental impact on the diversity and abundance of microbes, minerals, earth-worm populations, the overall health of Soil Food Web and the soil’s ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and decomposed organic matter into the soil.

The key findings indicated that farmers were having to increase their management and input costs exponentially yet, continue to experience pest and disease problems, declines in soil water-holding capacity, yield size, health of their produce and overall profitability.


Vermiculture’s Role in Soil regeneration

Why would farmers be interested in worm poo?

The Microbe DIspensary

An agricultural-scale vermicast brewing system

The Microbe Dispensary is a semi-automated vermicast brewing system which extracts the agronomic benefits of vermicast and transforms it into 2000L of liquid soil amendment concentrate. This concentrate is then combined with non-chlorinated water and sprayed out onto crops and pastures to regenerate their soils.

The product addresses four key pain points through addressing the shortcoming of current brewing designs. Through removing manual lifting of heavy vermicast retainers, swapping of componentry, regular user check ups and intervention for brew progression and tedious 100-micron filtration, the design evolved into a ‘set and forget’ system for farmers.

A look into the microbe Dispensary

Automated Lifting mechanism

A unique vermicast lifting mechanism

A high torque motor turns the threaded rod to drive the lifting arm and the vermicast retainer up and down.

The rotating trolley works on a bearing system to spin as the vermicast retainer is lifted in and out of the brew tank. This trolley situates the vermicast retainer and lifting arm within the guides of the module panel.


Brew automation and customisation

The automation of the brew process enables the user to control and customise the following:

– Automated lifting of vermicast retainer in and out of brew tank
– Brew Duration: 6-12 hours
– Pause: adding inoculants
– Stop: safety
– Tank Flush: cleaning

Serviceable module for housing internals

The steel framed module is designed to be highly serviceable for routine maintenance. The aluminium composite panels with a press detail (for structural rigidity), bolt on and off the frame to provide access to the internal componentry.

The legs of the rotomoulded tank recess into the module to provide shelving and storage for the internal parts.

300-micron to 100-micron filtration

The unique design the the filter enables farmers to filter the brew from 300-micron to 100-micron in one transition. This is firstly due to the cone-shaped base of the tank which acts as a sump for the silt as well as the location of the filter above the silt line.

The 100-micron filter has been place on an angle to maximise surface area for capturing silt as it is vacuum pumped into a decanting container (IBC). This filter is them removed and cleaned in preparation for the next brew cycle.

Carbon Offsetting

Incentivising the purchase of the Microbe dISPENSARY TO ALL fARMERS

Carbon Offset Programs are projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon storage (carbon sequestration). Examples of these programs include clean energy implementation, forestry planting restoration, implementation of regenerative farming techniques for soil regeneration. Through the reduction or storage of this carbon, carbon credits are accumulated which can be traded on a global market. As the climate crisis grows exponentially, corporations are needing to offset their carbon-producing activities. This is achieved through purchasing these regulated credits and ‘retiring’ them to the carbon value they are required to offset.

How does this work for the mICROBE dISPENSARY?

Allowing farmers to gain access to a carbon offsetting program not only provides them with a potential passive income but assists them in the regeneration of their soils to gain the innumerable agronomic, business and environmental benefits of the application of vermicast extract.

Francesca Symmons

Francesca has a passion for tackling the globe's current sustainability challenges through her design work. With two years experience in industry, she has established a wide range of skills and thoroughly enjoys collaborating with diverse teams of people to deliver the best design outcomes.