It’s literally just steam and boiling water. So why has it taken so long for Satusteam technology to catch on?
Inventor Jeremy Winer is blunt: “Because of society’s addiction to low cost chemicals and the belief they are safe to use.
“If you take chemicals out of the equation, managing vegetation then requires other methods including labour, whereas the trend since the `60s has been to replace jobs with chemicals.’’
Living, working and playing in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the Now & Zen Landscapes team takes seriously our responsibility to care for this ancient landscape.
We rely on sustainable products and technologies to do that.
Our Green Ninja Satusteam machine fits that bill. It’s one of our favourite tools to keep weeds under control, and to clean and sanitise hard surfaces – without harmful toxins.
The Satusteam story
“You look at it now and it seems simple,’’ Jeremy says. “But an enormous amount of time and energy investment went into creating the simple solution.’’
Taking an existing New Zealand hot water invention, Jeremy improved its design through his Weed Technics company and created the first machine in 1997.
Satusteam technology was launched in 2004.
However, it took a while to catch on.
Jeremy puts it down to “the addiction to low cost chemicals and the belief that they were safe to use’’.
Councils in the past employed teams of gardeners who would maintain public spaces such as community gardens.
“With the move towards chemical weed control a lot of those jobs, which were good healthy, clean jobs – chipping, whipper snipping, hand weeding – were replaced.
“At the time, they were told it was safe to use – `safe enough to drink’ was what we were told at college in the early `90s.’’
Today, many councils decline to ditch using toxins to control weeds because they are cheaper than non-chemical methods, Jeremy says.
Meanwhile, he has 30 years practical experience implementing integrated holistic approaches to weed management across urban landscapes, recreational parklands and wetlands.
Weedtechnics specialises in providing chemical reduction and non-toxic weed control programs to councils and farmers internationally which incorporate technology such as Satusteam.
“Once we had that Eureka moment with Satusteam, we haven’t really had to change that method since 2004,’’ he says.
Instead, Weedtechnics has created more methods of delivering Satusteam such as designing different sized machines and applicator heads.
Take the Satusteam spike kit.
It was actually designed by an organic banana farmer who bought a steam machine.
“We had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing’’ and the farmer was “a little bit coy’’ in his questions, Jeremy says.
It turns out the farmer had made a spike to inject Satusteam into the ground, where all the banana suckers are. He was having great success killing them without using any poison.
“I thought that was ingenious,’’ Jeremy says.
“So we developed the Satusteam spike kits, which can be injected into the root systems of things like serrated tussock grass, a terrible tufted weed, Pampas grass and even young willows by heating that root zone.’’
How Satusteam works
All Satusteam machines work on the same principal, including The Green Ninja that we at Now & Zen Landscapes have on our weed-tackling team:
steam + boiling water delivered at low pressure = kills weeds
Satusteam is a mixture of saturated steam (the minute vapour droplets seen rising from applicator heads) that has no lethal temperature and large coalesced (or merged) droplets of boiling water.
Rather than be generated in a pressure vessel like a soil steriliser or home heating system, Satusteam is delivered in a continuous flow hot water heat exchanger.
It delivers enough volume at 98° – 100°C / 208° – 212°F to the weed to explode soft leaved cells on contact. Thermal shock takes just 1/10th of a second.
Click HERE to learn more about Satusteam technology.
Watch a video HERE.
Satusteam aligns perfectly with the Now & Zen Landscapes environmentally sustainable ideals.
Apart from its efficacy, this is why we love our Green Ninja:
- High temperature, deadly for viruses
- Low pressure and minimal splash back
- No toxins, acids or foaming agents
Weedtechnics managing director Jeremy Winer says using non-chemical methods such as the Satusteam has further benefits – they create jobs, especially crucial in these uncertain times.
“Instead of councils being left with a toxic burden on their footpaths and in their waterways, and the profits going to a chemical company who has no responsibility for any of the ongoing clean-up, you actually create a local job where the money stays in the system,’’ he says.
“It might take a bit longer, but non-chemical methods are just as effective as chemicals.
“Our Satusteam is one of a number of tools in the non-toxic toolbox.’’
Rather than toxic residue, Satusteam simply explodes plant cells and dissolves the protective waxy cuticle of the plant which results in the dehydration of the aboveground part of the plant, which rapidly decays back into the soil.
“So the only addition you’re adding to the soil is some water that cools down very quickly; and organic materials, so you actually stimulate the degeneration of the humus layer and repopulate the soil with organisms that migrate to the affected area for a hot lunch,’’ Jeremy says.
“It’s so amusing doing demonstrations for councils. We always start off doing weed control in some cracks and crevices, and we go into some garden beds. Then when I change the nozzle to remove gum or Sellotape left behind from a bill poster or clean down a sign, we end up with the engineering department arguing with the parks department about who’s going to have the machine first.’’
While the Satusteam is ruthless on unwanted materials, it is gentle on surfaces such as soft sandstone and timber.
“We do have two commercial customers who do use our machines de-barnacling fishing vessels and cleaning ropes, while a council in Tasmania uses the Satusteam for weed control throughout all their town centres and to clean boat ramps.
“We can visibly see removal of the atmospheric grime that builds up on surfaces, particularly on things like children’s playgrounds and picnic tables and benches.’’
Satusteam is equally suitable for residential properties, Jeremy says.
“Cleaning surfaces like driveways, pathways, garage doors; removing spider webs; and moss off paths as well as getting rid of weeds can all be done by the one trusted contractor like Now & Zen and it’s just a matter of changing a nozzle.’’
Drop in to the new Now & Zen Landscapes showroom at 351 Great Western Hwy, Bullaburra, to see the Green Ninja Satusteam machine in action and chat about options for your garden with our landscape consultant Todd Duclos between 8am and 3pm any Saturday.
Arrange an appointment HERE.