Somaliland Adapts Seawater Greenhouses, Redesigns the Way Vegetables are Eaten


Somalilandsun- Freshwater is dwindling and instances of severe drought and desertification are on the rise, leaving agriculture in the balance. London-based Seawater Greenhouse has developed a pioneering greenhouse system that could help mitigate the challenges of both.

The idea behind the process is simple. It combines two unlimited resources — sunlight and seawater — to provide the ideal growing conditions for crops in hot, arid environments. The innovation uses the cooling and humidifying power of water vapor produced from evaporating seawater. The combined effect of reducing temperature and increasing humidity, together with providing a protected environment for crops, results in a reduction in water demand by up to 90 percent. Where additional fresh water is needed, a solar-powered desalination system is used. Other benefits include lower operating costs, increased yields and year-round production of high-value produce.

The system is currently being deployed in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Tenerife, where extreme conditions make traditional agriculture difficult. The latest region to trial the concept is Somaliland — one of the world’s most food-insecure regions. In lieu of a typical greenhouse, Seawater Greenhouse developed a shade net system for Somaliland that retains core evaporative cooling elements developed from previous projects while reducing costs.

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