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Energy Globe World Awards 2018

Finalist in the category Earth

Restorative Agriculture with the Seawater Greenhouse
Submitted by:
Seawater Greenhouse

Seawater Greenhouse has built a pilot greenhouse facility in Somaliland that combines evaporative cooling using seawater, solar PV powered reverse osmosis (RO) desalination, photo-selective shade cladding and sea salt into one integrated system. The site is completely closed-loop and off grid, producing all the power and water needed for intensive cultivation under shade net of high value horticultural produce.

Initial situation
The Horn of Africa suffers from chronic water shortages and decreasing access to food. Rising populations, unsustainable farming practices combined with natural disasters, soil salinization and political instability all cause exhaustion of fresh water and inability to grow food. A shortage of water also affects the carbon cycle as shrinking forests reduce the rate of carbon capture and disrupts the regulating influence that trees and vegetation have on our climate. The demand for both water and food, however, is only expected to grow.

Together with its partners (Aston University and the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA)) Seawater Greenhouse has designed, developed and built a pilot seawater greenhouse in Somalia. The rugged design, optimised for the region, comprises a low-cost shade net structure which is cooled and humidified with seawater. Seawater is treated by reverse osmosis and powered by solar PV. The site is completely closed-loop and off grid, producing all the power and water needed for intensive cultivation of high value horticultural produce, fodder and salt. It demonstrates an integrated agricultural enterprise that is profitable, sustainable and proof against drought.

Seawater Greenhouse has developed a system that makes maximum use of ambient environmental conditions, greatly reducing costs and complexity of the greenhouse. In contrast to the traditional greenhouse being a ‘hot house’, Seawater Greenhouse is a ‘cool house,’ which provides cooling and humidification to enable and optimize plant growth in a hot environment. Another innovation lies in the application of recent advances in photo-selective shade netting technology. Furthermore, the software tool allows partners to gather local meteorological data remotely and use it to model and simulate achievable greenhouse conditions in any region.

Category Earth

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  • Project: Restorative Agriculture with the Seawater Greenhouse
    Applicant: Seawater Greenhouse
    Country: Somalia