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09/03/97 12:59 AM

Foundation Inc.


The Ati Foundation Inc. Story
Like all stories, context is crucial to comprehension, particularly when the story concerns the birth of a deep system. This deep system was originally termed t-4, the fourth technosystem. It is envisioned as successor to the fossilfuel technosystem (t-3) associated with the birth of the industrial age. t-2 is the technosystem of the agricultural age and t-1, the technosystem of the hunter gatherer cultures of human pre-history. In 1982/3, the first signs of the vulnerablity of a fossil fuel based technosytem had already been felt acutely in the form of oil embargos and steeply rising energy prices. Inflation rates in the US reached alarming levels. Poverty and hunger in less prosperous regions of the world were a continuing critical concern. The founder of Ati Foundation, Mal Kukura, a practicing chemical engineer, experienced an intuive imaginative flash in which it became instantly clear that human deaths from starvation are connected intimately with energy availability and costs. The act of imaginative vision involved recognition of the scientific facts that hunger and death from starvation can be relieved by nutritious food, that nutritious food requires proper nutrition of crops, that the nutrients required are primarilly organic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and that nitrogen, the key chemical element of protein can be “fixed” from nitrogen in the atmosphere with hydrogen, that hydrogen is derived from fuels, that technolgies had been developed that recently made it

possible to convert heavy liquid oil fuels into hydrogen, that liquid oils from agricultural fuels was a suitable raw material for nitrogen fixation and protein crop cultivation; and finally that Mr. Kukura had been personally involved in the utilization of partial oxidation technology for hydrogen manufature from hyrdocarbon fuels. The realization provided a new sense of meaning to the chemical engineering profession, in a way that Mr. Kukura envisioned a means by which to contribute to what he saw as the most critical suffering in need of relief in order to ensure healthy survival of humanity and the global ecosystem as a whole. To put this initiative in even sharper context, the sense of meaning that was involved in the application of chemical engineering knowhow and training, grew out of a prior career in industrial processes designed to manufacture high purity materials such as the metals nickel and cobalt, for use in stainless steel alloys. During the intervening fifteen year period, the design basis of t-4 has been further developed and the principle components of a business development plan for commercialization have been assembled. t-4 involves a system that embodies construction of a new habitat and built environment for humanity, in harmony with nature and protective of the global eco-system. It was recognized early in the development of t-4, that in order for the technology to realize it’s full potential, it would need to be applied on the scale of community size in a grass roots development rather than as an adjuct or satellite of an existing fossil fuel based community. It was also realized that the immediate market for single family home energy self sufficiency and for neighborhood and small community energy self sufficiency, would need to be the initial thrust of the business plan for development. These realities derive from te nature of the technosystem itself, involving recycle of critical materials such as nitrogen. Organic nitrogen, along with other plant nutrients is taken up by crops and converted into biomass in the form of carbohydrates, protein, cellulose etc. In food agriculture most of the nutrients taken up by the crop plants are required for human nutrition. A system would be needed to

recycle nitrogen etc. back to crop cultivation. In energy agriculture for production of renewable fuel, only the hydrocarbon fuel in the form of vegetable oil is needed and the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium etc in the remaining biomass would need to be recycled to crop cultivation to conserve resources and minimize fuel costs. A further important consideration was in relation to resistance to displacement of fossil fuels. In order to ensure a minimum of resistance the decision was taken to avoid applying the t-4 technology to the production of tradition energy such as motor spirit, electrical power, methane and propane etc. and rather to use the renewable fuel for the manufacture of products that require energy inputs. Since construction of new eco-communities became the context for development of t-4, it seemed appropriate to apply the renewable fuel in the manufacture of raw materials that are critical to sommunity construction and particularly those materials and manufactured components with high energy input such as cement, steel, glass, aluminum, copper, organic fertilizer etc. T-4 then developed into a project that would involve construction of a network of eco-communities/villages/neighborhoods/towns/cities utilizing renewable fuel for it’s economic base - the manufacture of the raw materials and components required for residential construction (concrete, electrical cable, watr heaters, glass windows and doors, steel rebar, wall systems, climate control equipment, design services, construction management services, energy systems design and construction, renewable fuel crop seed production.............) While the original mission of t-4 was hunger relief, it became clear that in order to finance construction of t-4 communities in poverty and hunger stricken areas, since conventional finance would probably be denied, it’d be necessary to utilize the technology to construct and market and sell homes in eco-communities in prosperous regions intially to provide the cash flow needed to finance the projects for hunger relief.

This evolutionary pattern of development of the t-4 system gave rise to the concept of the self-sustaining, self replicating community. Later developments have taken the form of micro-miniaturization of renewable energy crop processing systems that would enable a solitary individual, two people, three and four (the range of household size of the majority of residences in the United States). So it is envisioned that the implementaion phase of the development of t-4, will involve first a research and development phase to design and construct a prototype pilot green house and processing system to provide all the energy needs foe a self sufficient residence for a single person, a system that then expanded in stages to provide for the needs of larger households (two, three, four and more). These early stages of implementation will provide solid cost data for estimation of the capital and operating costs for larger village/community/town/city/bioregion scale energy systems. Cost studies performed a decade ago indicated that available technologies adapted for use with the t-4 system should be capable of producing energy at prices competitive and eventually less than fossil fuel prces at that time (1986). The early stage of implementation are intended to demonstrate conclusively the competitive economics of t-4 on the smallest possible scale in a fashion that will provide cash flow (from the use of renewable fuel for firing furnaces for glass crafts - blown and stained glass panels, pottery, metal castings etc) to minimize the initial capital requirements prior to full scale manufacturing of small scale energy self sufficiency system for single family homes and small communities in remote areas. A number of suitable sites for the initial development are currently being studied. The site chosen will require a stable water supply for crop cultivation under controlled conditions in green houses in a region with abundant solar energy (south west US), sufficent land area for the green houses, craft work shops, energy

processing systems, design studio facilities and residential units for ket staff. Contact has been made with a corporation with an established record in manufacturing of energy processing micro plants, to form an alliance to design and fabricate and assemble components of the the energy processing system. Initial capital investment is expected to be in the range of $1.56 to $1.97 million over a period of 2 years prior to construction of a commercial sized energy processing system manufacturing facility to build anbd sell energy processing systems. The invested capital will be required in the following schedule: ($100,000 per month) and will be offset during the later stages of the twenty four month implementation project by sales of stained glass panels and other craft items. Commercialization of t-4 technologies will follow the phased steps outlined below. 1. R&D Stained glass panel crafting and manufacturing

2. Micro-plant production for production of residential scale and small community scale electrical power, motor fuel (diesel) and organic nitrogen for vegetable oil crop cultivation). 3. 4. 5. 6. Glass window and door manufacturing. Glass manufacturing. Aluminum manufacturing (for window and door frames). Silica sand, soda ash, alumina and caustic soda manufacturing (raw materials for windows and doors) replicating,

7. Design and construction of self sustaining self small, master planned eco-community.

8. Design and construction of large scale, self replicating community.