The PHOENIX – System

The PHOENIX – System
Agricultural and Recycling System

Text taken from the German magazine “Stern”: This is the technology of fertilization of the desert.

Gigantic specialized vehicles cross the endless sand landscape. Plows are tearing up the desert floor. A foam carpet is spread at a depth of 10 cm to make useless sand fertile. Designed in a test tube this foam contains everything that soil needs to let vegetation grow. The above picture gives an insight of the fight to recultivate new land: It will soon become essential for human kind.

(1) oasis; (2) desert area with plants; (3) surveyor; (4) tank wagon; (5) container for resin; (6) container for foam solution; (7) compressor and compressed air vessel; (8) container for seeds, nutrient salts, and soil bacteria; (9) mixing chamber; (10) automatic controlled plow; (11) spray nozzle and foam track; (12) control panel; (13) bulldozer to cover the foam carpet with sand; (14) drill tower for water.


A total self-supplying system to produce foodstuffs, fertilizer and albumen.
Regeneration of soil in arid countries through natural elements.
Maximum utilization of animal droppings and other natural resources through recycling.
Production of special fertilizer from animal droppings to spare water and to regenerate soil or sand: “HUKOSOIL”.
An application of substantial regenerative development for foodstuffs.
A combined system of “Substantial Development” and “Plastoponics”.
A new method of cultivation of arid soils.
Total planning and combined strategy for economical investments.
PLASTSOIL + Animal droppings = HUKOSOIL.
Water absorbing rests from special crops + Animal droppings = HUKOSOIL.
HUKOSOIL in arid soil = Regeneration of soil for vegetation.
Minimum pollution and maximum out-put in agricultural systems.
P H O E N I X – S Y S T E M = Total planning & Application.

PHOENIX – System: Flow Diagram

Flow Diagram for the PHOENIX – System, developed and designed by PMI GmbH.

Companies cooperating are: G. Karth, Langenfeld and Schaum-Chemie W. Bauer KG, Frankenthal (Contact: Obering. Mr. Baumann).

The planning as a technology is used to realize the tasks of experts, governments and investors. The main difference of the PHOENIX-System to common agricultural systems lays in the self-supply of raw materials. This system is independent of other sectors that supply to each other in common agricultural systems. Taking the example of a poultry farm: The productivity of poultry is dependent on the food stuff, building, rate of pollution, etc. Just one of these factors, i.e. food stuff can transfer the total output to near zero or to non-feasibility. In the PHOENIX-System the food stuff will be supplied directly from system.

Moreover the PHOENIX-System recycles the droppings to produce the best possible fertilizer. It is called HUKOSOIL and spares a lot of water, mineral salts and bacteria. In HUKOSOIL all elements necessary for a vegetation are included.

Most of the agricultural systems in the developing countries are non feasible. The reason is mostly found in the disharmony of different sectors of planning, not plannable factors, like structural changes during development process (farmers go to the industrial sectors) and especially the restriction of masses of working forces. In addition the governments try to interfere through spotwise planning. In such countries the water supply and fertilizer systems are developed mostly independently. One sector might, just by chance, meet the requirements of the other sectors. The PHOENIX-System can work without all these difficulties because in each system these factors are more or less exactly calculable and each system is controllable by the operating personnel.

The PHOENIX-System can be regarded as combination of modern technology and planning. The experiments in arid countries have shown the best performance for vegetation in arid soils.

The PHOENIX-System can be delivered as a total system or as a part of the whole system. The PHOENIX-System can also be delivered as a total turn-key project:

Poultry, sheep or cow farm
Mixing plant to produce HUKOSOIL (special fertilizer)
Formaldehyde production plants
Urea stuff production plants
Reactor or dosing and mixing plant to produce Urea-Formaldehyde resin
Plant to produce Urea-Formaldehyde foam
NH3 fertilizer plant
All machinery necessary for the PHOENIX-System such as tractors, tearing plant, pumps, water supply system, etc.
Dairy from milk to cheese, butter, etc.
Slaughter houses
Sausage production plants
Cold storage houses
Leather production plants
Production plants for meat and Corp. preserves
Special recycling systems for left-overs
Feasibility studies, planning and turn-key delivery

PMI GmbH can deliver a specially designed total system for each application case. Each PHONIX-System is modified according to the specifications of country and the available budget.

Most of the products are processed in the PHOENIX-System. The modern technology and planning in PHOENIX-System makes a pay-back of capital in less than 2 years possible. Pay-back differs from country to county. Each part of the above list is a feasible product in itself. The total feasibility rises with the addition of system components.

PMI GmbH can also offer a total system which includes all services out of one hand: Feasibility studies, planning, selection of machinery, assembly, training of personnel, know-how and financing.

Modern engineering and design should replace uneconomical spotwise planning.

Abstract from experiments carried out:
Plastoponics – a new method of cultivation for arid soils
By Heinz Baumann, chief engineer, Frankenthal/Pfalz

In the following lines we will describe partial results from experiments with foam plastics which permits soils in arid districts to be planted or replanted. Plants can also grow in foam plastics if they are hydrophilic and contain nutrient salts and trace elements. This method is called plastoponics, and the foam itself plastsoil. In this discussion we will deliberately not deal with such things as “water”, “nutrient salts”, “trace elements”, and pH. Specialists will know the bibliography. In the introduction we will thoroughly discuss the problem of hunger, for the knowledge of this scourge of mankind has been and will be the guiding principle of our work.

An Italian and a Frenchman found out that the substances which plants take in from the soil are changed chemically before they can form a component part of the tissue. Only much later it was demonstrated by a great number of experiments that the air plays a great part in the formation of organic substances in plants.

There is a report of an experiment in 1699 according to which plants can be grown in aqueous solutions without soil. In the 18th century we got to know of the assimilation of carbon oxide and the respiration of plants.

Shortly afterwards two Frenchmen, explained the formation of organic vegetable substance, an explanation which came very near to the present theory.

But only Liebig finally found out the real process. He wrote: “Men and animals depend for their nourishment and maintenance on vegetable organisms, that is on organic compounds. Plants, however, draw their nourishment exclusively from inorganic nature”.

1860 is the year where, for the first time, plants were cultivated without natural soil in salt solutions. In 1929 Gerricke reported on extensive outdoor experiments which were carried out with the aim of using water cultures for the production of food. He published the theory of hydroponics as opposed to geoponics (sail cultures). While he went on with his experiments, there were several water cultures operating in Europe. The results of the one in the Russian Plodo Institute were made use of already in the Russian polar expedition in 1937. Beside that there were Polish projects South of Lwow and Hungarian ones in the Carpathians. Both were raising early vegetables and ornamental plants. In Germany the first water culture was opened in 1938 in Steinheim/Westf.

Having penetrated the processes of nature man wanted to make use of them. While the theory of fertilizers was making process, they were looking for means to improve the soil in order to find “substitute soils”. One of the many proposed ways to improve the soil is from 1948: using foamed scraps of corbamide resin. Flakes of this foam were to be ploughed into the soil together with fertilizers such as dung, humus, peat, green manure etc.

Foam resins, especially foamed urea formaldehyde resins, were used to a certain extent for decoration purposes in flower shops during the last years. Cut flowers are put into this foam resin, which provides a hold for them. The foam resin can be colored at choice and is used largely as a substitute for moss.

In 1953 it was tested for the first time whether a plant can grow for a longer period in foamed urea formaldehyde resin without the adding of nutrient salts. This experiment made it quite clear that the roots of plants cannot, in a short period, decompose the combined nitrogen from the foam resin and utilize it for vegetation. Further experiments proved that foam resin can be used in hydroponics instead of inorganic or organic substances that had been used up to that time.

The foam resin is all porous; its weight is 5 to 8 kg/m3. Its basic materials guarantee that the chemical composition is perfect. And since there are mobile units which permit foam resins to be produced at any place required, foam resins occupy a very important position now. It was proposed therefore to cover agricultural soil with foam to improve vegetation and to prevent the development of weeds, fungi and insects. There can be added fertilizers, insecticides, weed killers, colorants or pigments to the foam resins in the course of production.

From 1957 onwards, since the first tests, the foam resins have been changed to a large extent as far as their chemical and biological qualities are concerned. Today we have a material which can replace natural soil and which, by way of hydro culture, brings up a new era in the cultivation of plants. It is self-evident that no plant will grow in foam resin without water. Water is essential, for it is not only a means of solution and of transport, but also a nutritional material. Beyond that it has to fulfill other physiological tasks, for example swelling the colloids. Without water no plant will grow, life would not be possible without it.

The foam contains a high percentage of air, which is also very important for the growth of a plant. Each animal and each plant must respirate. If the surface of the soil is silted up or if by a too high percentage of water the soil does not hold enough air the parts of the plant in the soil will suffer from lack of oxygen. In this case the micro- and macro-organisms, which are of great value for the plants, will be rivals because they themselves need oxygen.

Since trace elements and nutrient salts can be added to the foam resin the proposition to use them for the reconquest of arid soils was not so much out of the way.

A layer of foam resin, put into arid soil, will serve the plant as a reservoir of water and air and will provide the roots with the necessary substances (picture 1). The natural soil above the foam layer is manured and ploughed as usual after the first vegetation period. But plants can also be grown from seed in foam resin, they are watered without nutrient solution. For all that it is necessary to introduce a new definition: Plastoponics – cultivation of plants in hydrophilic foam plastics containing nutrient salts and trace elements; or – the cultivation of plants in arid soils with the aid of foam plastics. The foam plastics for plastoponics are called PLASTSOIL.

Plastoponics can be used for the following purposes: conquest of virgin soil, stopping of steppe formation, prevention of erosion, reforestation (not only in southern countries), planting of dunes for consolidation, sowing of early vegetables, open-air planting of improved vine, growing of flowers.

After these favorable results open-air experiments were made in Saudi Arabia on a larger scale.

In a sand area of 100 x 40 m 35 cm of the soil were removed by a caterpillar-tractor, a foam layer of 5 cm thickness was put in and covered again with the sand. Under the pressure of the sand and the tractor the foam was pressed to a thickness of 3 cm. Then it was watered; the foam layer retained 6,5 liter of water per m2. After having been exposed to the sun for three weeks at temperatures of 45 ° centigrade in the shadow the foam still held 2,6 liters of water, the parts compressed by the tractor about 1.8 l/m2.

Fifty per cent of the hundred lemon-trees, planted in the usual method, died off. Of a parallel series of 200 trees, planted in foam resin, all plants got an well.

Experiments made in South Africa were positive, as well. The experiments are being carried on and will be extended to West Africa in the next moths. They will bring final results. Already now we can say that the method has every chance of being introduced because of its low cost, now that it is possible to produce foam resin at the place where it is required, so that this highly voluminous material need not be transported. Institutes in Germany and in other countries are examining the results that have been reached and help to lay and deepen the foundations that will be of decisive importance for the international application of this new agricultural method.

1. Revolution:
The Desert is starting to come to life. Fertilizer absorbs water. Roots can receive water and nutritive elements. Water and fertilizer will be used economically.

2. Transportble, easily assembled foaming plant in use in the Middle East.

3. Soil preparation with finished fertilizer to be used for trees.

4. Marking spots for planting. Trees will be planted at a later date. At first a cover of sand or soil is placed on top of the fertilizer.

5. A Caterpillar tractor equipped with a production plant for PASTSOIL. The tractor is used in one operation to remove sand or soil and covering the ground with fertilizer.

Ref.: Heinz Baumann: Plastoponik, Schaumstoffe in der Agrarwirtschaft. Experimente im Orient.

On the way to a mixing plant

One of the central problems in the design and development of the PHOENIX-System was the process of mixing animal droppings with PLASTSOIL, so that the final product called HUKOSOIL obtaines the characteristics mentioned. In special cases it is feasable to mix these droppings with crop left-overs.
6. First experiments in the late 1950’s and 1960’s where carried out to find the best mixing and mechanical data.

For each type of animal droppings and mixture speciality a seperate and new concept was necessary together with a new construction.

7. Mixing plant from 1971.

8. Mixing plant from 1972 to produce HUKOSOIL a mixture of animal droppings and Plastsoil.

Ref.: Günther Karth, Langenfeld created this mixing plant together with H. Bauamann, Frankenthal.

9. Mixing plant operated fully automatic to produce Urea- Formaldehyde resin.

10. Apparatus to produce elements for Urea-Formaldehyde foam.

11. A modern poultry farm in the vicinity of Berlin, Germany. G. Karth.

Ref.: Heinz Baumann, Dr. Ing. Ernst Baumann: 25 Jahre Schaumchemie

12. Another method to apply PLASTSOIL or HUKOSOIL

13. Acacia Arabica in specially prepared areas in Saudi Arabia. Right: Mr. K. Amighi, the project manager, who created the PHOENIX SYSTEM in 1970.

Ref.: Experiments performed by H. Baumann in the Middle East. PLASTOPONIK

14. As a comparison:
* On the left are trees with HUKSOIL special fertilizer.
* On the right are trees without HUKSOIL special fertilizer.