Model Systems

Model City

Biosphere 2 Serves as a Model City for Energy and Water Management Innovations

Biosphere 2 Microgrid

Proposal to Department of Energy call FOA 0000036, Smart Grid Demonstration: Distributed Energy Storage for Grid Support. Proposal to integrate 3MW solar PV, 1MW NaS Battery, 20KW Pumped Hydroelectric Storage, Autonomic Grid Monitoring System (ATaRS), Demand Management System and new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system into the existing Biosphere 2 energy system including 1.5MW Diesel and 1.5MW Natural Gas generators and 80k gallon cold water storage tank. The new microgrid system would allow Biosphere 2 to operate entirely on solar energy, function as a power island, and simulate multiple scenarios representing different scales of municipal energy grids with a diverse distributed power portfolio.

Biosphere 2 Solar Village

Proposal to Department of Energy call FOA 0000085, High Penetration Solar Deployment: Field Verification of High-Penetration Levels of PV into the Distribution. Proposal to integrate the nearly 500 PV panels donated by SOLON spring 2009 with 25kW of nickel-metal hydride batteries to power the Biosphere 2 Conference Village and demonstrate performance of community scale deployment of PV and energy storage technology.

Extreme Grade PV Installation Demonstration

Proposal to install 500 donated SOLON PV panels on Biosphere 2's high berm using innovative installation strategy with implications for large-scale installation on mine tailings and other steep sloped, unstable surfaces.

Biosphere 2 Renewable Energy Demonstration (B2RED)

This project is a partnership between Biosphere 2 and Raytheon Missile Systems to design and install an automatic energy monitoring system (ATaRS), develop a dynamic energy systems model capable of incorporating proposed renewable energy generation and energy storage technologies to inform the creation of a new Biosphere 2 SCADA system with management and simulation capabilities.

Ecophysiology and Energy Balance of Model Green Roofs

Construction of small-plot model green roofs to test their potential for mitigation of urban heat island effects in semi-arid environments. The design crosses two artificial soil types, two irrigation regimes, and three plant species in initial tests. The data collected here will contribute to efforts to model and mitigate the urban heat-island effect in Tucson.


2019 (Published)

Agrivoltaics provide mutual benefits across the food–energy–water nexus in drylands . Barron-Gafford, G. A., Pavao-Zuckerman, M. A., Minor, R. L., Sutter, L. F., Barnett-Moreno, I., Blackett, D. T., Thompson, M., Dimond, K., Gerlak, A. K., Nabhan, G. P., Macknick, J. E. (2019): Nature Sustainability 2: 848-855.