All the Things You Can Do With a Ridiculously Gigantic Lagoon2 July, 2014 / News
Crystal Lagoons creates crystalline pools that are acres in size. But these great lagoons are good for more than just being hotel swimming holes.
Imagine you’re on the west side of Manhattan, strolling along the Hudson River on a summer day. You certainly shouldn’t swim in its water, which has been soiled by years of pollution. But you could go for a dip in a pool of crystal clear water that’s floating on top of the river.
This illustration of a portable paradise may be the inner workings of a real estate mogul’s wild imagination, but it’s not too far from reality. The company, Crystal Lagoons, builds these wet wonderlands around the world, though their megapools are primarily found on land. Thanks to a clever proprietary way to clean large amounts of water, the company can build lagoons that contain dozens or hundreds of times more water than an Olympic-size swimming pool. This week it announced four new projects near Tampa, Florida. But what’s really cool about its work is all the things you can do with that much water other than swimming.
One of the company’s wilder ideas is for floating lagoons. The Hudson River illustration makes for an amazing image (it’s just hypothetical for now—sorry New Yorkers), but such a pool could be built atop any large body of water that’s too dirty for a swim. Crystal Lagoons CEO Kevin Morgan gives the example of the 100,000-plus retention ponds in Florida. And these pieces of paradise are moveable—you could tow them to anywhere else on the New York waterfront, for example.
How can a giant swimming pool save ocean life? Back in 2011, Popular Mechanics was among the first to report on Crystal Lagoons‘ plan to use its enormous, luxurious swimming pools as a way to cool down power plants. Those plants typically use what’s called once-through cooling: They suck in large amounts of water, use that water as a sink for all the heat the plant produces, and then release the heated H2O back out into open water. It’s a wasteful, destructive process. For example, many fish are killed when they are pulled in along with the water entering the plant.
Chilean biochemist Fernando Fischmann, the founder of Crystal Lagoons, proposed that a giant pool could act as a closed system that provides all the water to cool the plant without endangering wildlife. Heat from the water would have a chance to dissipate once in the pool, and Fischmann‘s filtration system would keep microorganisms and pollutants at bay.
This oversized vision became a reality earlier this year, when Crystal Lagoons built a pool to cool a 350-megawatt plant in Chile two hours north of Santiago. Morgan tells us that the pool draws from brackish well water that would be unusable for drinking. Once filled, the pool needs only to draw enough to replace the water that evaporates.
The secret to Fischmann‘s filtration system—and what makes such large pools possible—is that Crystal Lagoons isn’t constantly treating the entire volume with chemicals, such as chlorine. Instead, the company uses sensors to monitor quality in real time. The water is treated only when needed, and after it’s done, ultrasound is fired through the water. That makes the dirt and pollutants clump together and fall to the bottom of the pool, where they’re easy to collect.
Morgan tells PM Crystal Lagoons is thinking of pitching its filtration system to desalination plants, since they must filter the water before they begin the process of turning salt water into fresh.
Hundred-acre crystal-clear luxury pools are great—for the few months a year when it’s warm enough to go swimming. For the rest of the year, Crystal Lagoons is playing with the idea of closing off one end of a pool and freezing it to create a sprawling ice skating rink.
Swimming in Splendor
Of course, ice rinks and eco-friendly cooling lagoons are just side ventures—Crystal Lagoons‘ main business is building monumental water parks for tourist destinations—or private expanses of pool for the obscenely rich. The company is currently building a 98-acre pool for royalty in Dubai; Jennifer Lopez recently paid a visit to the project.
Crystal Lagoons Corp. is an international innovation company, founded by scientist Fernando Fischmann, that has developed and patented technology that allows for the low-cost construction and maintenance of unlimited size bodies of water in crystal-clear condition.