Are Floating Farms the Answer to a Lack of Farmland?
Going into the future, we are going to need a whole lot more farmland to feed all these mouths in the world. Or will we?
We certainly will not need more land for farming. Not according to Smart Floating Farms. This company wants to put farms on the ocean, where they will be a triple-decker food-producing wonder. They will be moved around, pulled by a boat, to where they are needed. Their design is impressive. In the middle level, vegetables will be grown. 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 is to plonk these floating farms close to areas where food is more needed. They will be automated and pretty much run themselves. These “farms” will be located close to many mega-cities with water access. Places like Dublin, Belfast, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney.
This is not science fiction, according to the boffins who designed it. It is completely viable and while it won’t solve all of humanity’s hunger problems or replace existing traditional agriculture; it can complement existing production methods to help reduce food supply risk. The project uses a combination of technologies that already exist.
The top level of the Smart Floating Farms will house the solar panels. The “green power” generated will be used for the second level – the hydroponic farm. The waste by-products from the crops can be further used for feeding the fish on the lower level. And in closed-loop fashion, the waste from the fish farm can be recycled as fertiliser for the hydroponic farm. Desalinated water will be used to hydrate the crops.
And in case big waves come along to spoil everyone’s fun, the perimeter of the structure will be protected by a series of inflatable wave protectors. 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 might be holiday apartments onsite as well? Better book early, people, there’s fresh fish straight from the ocean to be had.
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