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Using seawater and sunlight to grow sustainable food in the desert

Australia’s Sundrop Farms uses sunlight to desalinate seawater. The resulting fresh water is used and re-used to power and irrigate four hydroponic greenhouses with 175,000 tomato plants in each. Those sustainable year ’round tomatoes are 15% of Australia’s annual tomato produce. And they do all of this in the desert, around 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Adalaide.

sundrop farms: sustainable fresh water, food, and energy
This closed-loop system is Sundrop’s solution for creating fresh water, energy, and food in a smart and sustainable way. The 2012 animation above summarizes their system. From their site:

If you are a traditional farmer, you’ll need water and energy to grow your produce. And you’ll need lots of it.

The challenge is that they are finite resources that are becoming ever scarcer. Our solution? Not to use them!

We don’t extract groundwater from the planet at unsustainable rates. We don’t rely on fossil fuels. And we don’t use soil or valuable farmlands.

Instead we’ve developed technologies that integrate solar power, electricity generation, fresh water production and hydroponics. It produces an equivalent quantity of food to that grown using traditional methods, but the quality is significantly better.

This 2016 report from ABC Landline provides more details:


Next, watch: Powered by Poop at the Straus Family Creamery, Inside Montreal’s Zero Waste Urban Greenhouses, and designing solar panel walls that can recycle & heat greywater.

Bonus: 24/7 Concentrated Solar Thermal Power + Molten Salt Storage.

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