Ernest Lerma is an impressive figure from Phoenix, Arizona, with a proud Mexican-American heritage. He was once incarcerated but is now a successful entrepreneur who is often compared to Tony Stark. Lerma’s company, Waffle Forest, uses cutting-edge technologies to create the world’s first self-sustaining tech forest in the desert. This innovative solution, which includes an artificial intelligence system called ‘Ninja’ and a real-time health monitoring system for trees called ‘Tree Talker,’ has the potential to reverse desertification and reduce carbon emissions.
Waffle Forest goal
Waffle Forest’s ‘Forest Integration with Technology’ (FIT) program is at the forefront of the tech industry. Lerma and his partner, Nobel laureate Ricardo Valentini, who is also an influential member of the United Nations board for climate change, are driven by a commitment to address climate change. Together, they are working on a system that can calculate carbon footprints and measure carbon sequestration, which will be a significant step forward in the fight against global warming.
Waffle Forest excels at adapting and thriving in challenging environments. The company’s focus on building forests in arid regions aims to rejuvenate areas that are particularly vulnerable to desertification. This approach not only helps combat climate change but also fosters ecosystem restoration in regions that have traditionally struggled to support thriving forests.
Waffle Forest Forest Integration Technology’s goal is to create a forest that is the equivalent of over 1-2 million trees in carbon reduction. F.I.T includes technologies such as Direct Air Capture (DAC) machines, Tree Talk Technology, atmospheric water generators, and solar panels. These technologies work together to not only reverse desertification but also manage the forest in a sustainable way.
Tree Talker Technology
Tree Talker Technology is a series of detectors that can transform eco-physiological signals into scientific information and alert forest management to any threats or issues facing the trees. This technology is being developed in partnership with Dr. Riccardo Valentini, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Atmospheric water generators
Atmospheric water generators (AWGs) are used to water and sustain the tech forest in the dry desert climate. A Single generator can generate up to 280 gallons of water per day by extracting humidity from the air. Storing it in a water storage tank will be an essential part of their efforts to sustain the forest in the dry desert climate. Partnering with Tsunami Products will help build the perfect AWG system to help become a sustainable habitat.
Waffle Forest incorporates the use of solar power in their project to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and create an eco-friendly tech forest. Solar panels provide energy for the research facility and other necessary equipment, helping to minimize the carbon footprint.
Tree adoption program
Families and organizations have the opportunity to adopt a 6ft tree, creating a special connection with a living organism that they can watch grow and thrive over time. Each adopted tree has a plaque with a QR code that prompts visitors to a webpage with information about the adopters and the tree, including photos and history.
Data collection and monitoring are crucial to the success of the project. The Tree Talker technology and other sensors provide invaluable insights into the health and needs of the trees in the forest. The data helps understand how different species respond to changes in water availability and temperature throughout the year, and data-driven decisions can be made to care for and protect the trees. Measuring the carbon absorption of the trees also allows accurate tracking of progress in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. This data can help improve the health of the forest and provide valuable information to other reforestation projects around the world, mitigating the effects of carbon emissions on a global scale.
Waffle Forest Phase 1
In Phase 1 of its development plan, Waffle Forest is building a small research facility in the desert to test and demonstrate their technology and methods for reforestation and carbon reduction. Their team has connected their trees to Tree Talker technology, which allows them to gather real-time data on the health and needs of the trees. They use Atmospheric Water Generators to water the trees, which helps them sustain them in the dry desert climate. As part of their pilot program, they are planting 25 trees and gathering data to fine-tune their approach before scaling up to a full-fledged forest. Dr. Ricardo Valentini, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is helping to oversee their data collection and analysis. Their goal is to prove that their technology and methods work, and to use the data collected to make a real impact on the environment.
Waffle Forest Phase 2
In Phase 2, Waffle Forest will tackle one of their biggest challenges yet – transforming a 260-acre landfill into a thriving forest. Their team will be planting mature 6-foot trees and using their innovative “waffle” system to monitor and care for them. With each tree occupying a 15×15-foot square of land, their goal is to cover the entire landfill with a lush and thriving forest. This will not only improve the environment and combat desertification, but it will also serve as a community park, a place for people to enjoy nature in the heart of the city. Dr. Ricardo Valentini will be overseeing their data collection and analysis, and they are confident that they can make this ambitious project a reality.
Waffle Forest Phase 3
Phase 3 of the Waffle Forest project is all about taking their efforts to combat desertification and carbon reduction to the next level. One of the key ways they plan to do this is by incorporating Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology into their forest. DAC machines work by pulling in carbon-rich air and using chemical processes to separate the carbon from other gases, effectively removing it from the atmosphere. This technology is still relatively new, but there are a number of companies and organizations, such as Arizona State University, that are working on developing more efficient and cost-effective DAC machines.
Lerma’s mission transcends technological innovation; he is intent on driving environmental justice and uplifting marginalized communities.
“Waffle Forest is about groundbreaking tech innovations and more. We are committed to fighting climate change, reversing desertification, and enhancing disadvantaged communities with low tree canopy. Our aim is to leverage technology to transform landscapes and lives.”