ANAHEIM, Calif. – Catalyx, Inc. has been contracted to be the technology provider and will team with the Ramona Band of the Cahuilla Indian Tribe to develop the tribe’s eco-tourism resort near Anza, Calif.
The first of its kind, the Ramona Band of Cahuilla Mission Native Americans’ resort is designed as a 100 percent off-grid renewable energy project that will employ multiple alternative energy technologies to meet all of its energy needs and reuse much of its own waste byproducts, such as sewage, biogas and restaurant food waste.
The resort, funded jointly by the Ramona Band, the Department of Energy, the United States Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies, is being built in the Anza Valley on the Ramona Indian Reservation in Riverside County, near San Diego. Upon completion it will offer a peaceful retreat to the public and corporate clients, as well as an educational experience about the Native American culture, habitat, natural remedies and care of the environment through the use of green energy and sustainable lifestyle practices.
“We want to create a truly natural retreat which mirrors our ancestral heritage of living in harmony with Mother Earth,” said John Gomez, cultural director for the Ramona Band. “When finished, this resort will not be a burden on the environment. All energy will be renewable and all waste and wastewater will be recycled. This resort will be a model for other tribes to generate revenues for themselves in a more appealing manner that is true to their heritage.”
The completed project is expected to produce 1 megawatt-Hr (1000 KW-hrs) per day of renewable energy, with propane as a backup energy source until the project is complete.
“Small tribes such as the Ramona Band face many obstacles when competing for federal grant dollars, especially since larger tribes often get the lion’s share of available federal funding,” said Ramona Band Vice Chairman Manuel Hamilton. “Once we were able to secure funding from the numerous federal agencies involved, the next major challenge was identifying and overseeing multiple renewable energy technology vendors who could work together to cover the many needs of the resort. We believe that Catalyx’s breadth of in-house technologies and strategic partnerships with other companies provide the complete green technology integration mix to meet our needs.”
Ramona Chairman Joseph Hamilton is excited. “With Catalyx’s expertise, we will be able to prove our vision that an off-grid sustainable business community is not only possible, but economical, practical and enjoyable.”
Catalyx, Inc. will provide multiple renewable energy and water treatment technologies from its portfolio and will contract with third parties for additional technologies to be used at the resort and throughout the reservation.
“Since 2002, Catalyx, Inc. has been developing technologies focused on reducing the cost of renewable energy and water treatment. This year, through our various spinoffs, we are rolling out several of these new products,” said Juzer Jangbarwala, CEO. “The Ramona Band’s eco-tourism resort, with its hybrid energy system and other environmentally friendly components, will demonstrate the multiple facets of what is required to be truly ‘green’ and, once integrated properly, how affordable being ‘green’ really is.
“While this effort is being put forth for the Ramona Band’s eco-tourism resort, our vision is to leverage the work we are doing with the Ramona Band to deploy this concept for setting up sustainable villages in developing countries worldwide. It would be far cheaper for governments to have off-grid villages than to invest in infrastructure for bringing environmentally harmful fossil fuels to the sites. We also hope to convince school districts domestically and abroad to emulate our model and install such model resorts worldwide. These model resorts can be used as a fun retreat for school students, and at the same time, get the next generation of decision makers acclimated with alternative energy and recycling concepts.”
The Ramona Band resort is scheduled to have its first stage operational by August, consisting of five of the 38 planned cabins. Pending successful completion of the first stage, the tribe anticipates receiving funding for the remainder of the project.
Some of the technologies and practices that are proposed to be integrated into the resort include:
• Water Treatment: Catalyx will provide a solar powered water treatment plant to supply potable water to the cabins. A solar powered submersible pump will pump groundwater to the treatment system.
• Wastewater Treatment: Catalyx is providing a windmill powered wastewater treatment plant. It will contract with Bio-Shaft Water Technology Inc. for a unique wastewater treatment plant that doesn’t produce any sludge and recycles the water for irrigation. This standalone plant can be installed anywhere and bring much needed sanitation to rural areas economically.
• Solar Electric Generation and Storage: In the project’s first phase, 13 KWp of photovoltaic panels will provide power to the cabins. The photovoltaic panels will have associated battery banks and inverters that use Catalyx’ power storage technologies, to provide 110V power, if needed.
• Wind Energy: Catalyx will provide multiple 10-15 KW windmills suitable for high wind areas. The windmills will generate electricity for immediate use and charge battery banks.
• Standby Bio Diesel Generator: There will be a 25KW backup diesel generator, fueled with bio diesel produced on site by the Ramona Band.
• Bio Diesel Plant: Energy crops grown on site will generate the oil feedstock that Catalyx’ proprietary technology will process into bio diesel on site. In the initial stages before the energy crop matures, the tribe plans to collect waste oil from fast food operations and restaurants in Anza and use it as oil feedstock for the plant. All other restaurant waste will also be recycled or used as feedstock as appropriate.
• Hydrogen Generation/Fuel Cells: Catalyx spinoff Energix Research, Inc. will provide several integrated hydrogen generator/fuel cell devices. Energix will produce hydrogen from ethanol or methanol derived from the energy crop using its patent-pending technology. The hydrogen will power the fuel cell micro power plants with 5KW capacity of continuous power at 52 percent efficiency (compared to 21 – 24 percent with standard diesel generators).
• Thermal Solar: In the final phase, Catalyx will provide thermal solar powered small-scale absorption chillers for air conditioning and refrigeration as well as provide hot water for the cabins, pool and restaurant. The waste heat will be utilized for comfort heating in the cabins, restaurant and meeting rooms.
• Electric Vehicles: For on-site transportation, Catalyx will provide 100 percent plug-in electric ATVs that use low cost brushless DC motors with regenerative brakes. Catalyx developed the technology in collaboration with ICPE, Romania.
• LED Lighting: The resort will be designed using optimum lighting with LED lamps, street, area and flood lamps that consume only a fraction of the electricity of comparable energy-wise lamps.