Floating farms are about to solve a whole lot of problems. Check this out, says Nicole Buckler.
Going into the future, we are going to need a whole lot more farmland to feed all these mouths in the world. Or, maybe not.
A floating farm might just be the answer. This is not science fiction, according to the boffins who designed it. It is completely viable. It won’t solve all of humanity’s hunger problems or replace existing traditional agriculture; but it can complement existing production methods to help reduce food supply risk.
As a commercial real estate investment, these are intriguing. The design is impressive. Vegetables will grow in the middle level. Under the water will be a fish farm, and on the very top they will position solar panels to power the farm and to desalinate the water.
The plan? To plonk these floating farms close to where food is needed. Fully automated, the farms will run themselves. They will be located close to many mega-cities with water access. Places like the Gold Coast, Dublin, Belfast, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney.
Floating Farm Green Power
The project uses a combination of technologies that already exist. At the top level, the solar panels will produce the power for the next level. The second level is the hydroponic farm. The fish on the lowest level will be fed using waste from the hydroponic farm. The hydroponic farm will be fertilised using the waste from the fish. This makes it a closed-loop system. Desalinated water can be used to hydrate the crops. It is self-contained genius.
Waves and Challenges
Big waves could come along to spoil everyone’s fun. A series of inflatable wave protectors will protect the structure. According to the designers at Smart Floating Farms, “The project is made of well-tested materials, technologies, and systems, which are already in use around the globe. The SFF footprint is rectangular, like Asia’s traditional grid-shape fish floating farms. It is an efficient configuration which allows maximum space for production.”
The floating barges could have the potential to be more complex: they could actually be production centres, making a finished product ready for the supermarket. To achieve this, they could process the fish and crops into a market-ready form on site, upping the profits.
The company who came up with the idea says that just one “smart farm” could bust out around 8 tonnes of vegetables and 1.7 tonnes of fish every year. And, the farm would pay for itself within 10 years. I’m sure many of us are hoping there will be a fresh fish restaurant onsite as well. Better book early, people, there’s bream straight from the ocean to be had.
Need a drink to go with that fish? Then check out this local gin.