Seawater greenhouses can save the Middle East and humanity from drought caused by climate change. At Sundrop, they pioneered saltwater greenhouses in Australia – they grow tomatoes for a large supermarket called Coles. And Sundrop produces what they say is “a better product, better for the planet… all year round”.
Sundrop Farms uses hydroponics, a method of growing in a treated water medium without soil. It is an extremely efficient way of growing plants and is now becoming an option for growing food in harsh climates, in urban centers or in areas where clean water is limited or lacking. In China, for example, where the soil is contaminated with cadmium and lead, people want to buy organic food grown with hydroponic systems.
Sundrop Farms claims theirs is the first farming system of its kind to reach commercial scale. The 65-hectare facility was made possible by an investment of A $ 200 million ($ 148 million) to pay for a desalination plant, greenhouses and other facilities needed to grow tomatoes. A big bet that is paying off for the development of agricultural crops in Australia and around the world.
Sundrop’s greenhouses are powered by solar energy, with 23,000 mirrors reflecting the sun’s rays towards the top of a 127-meter-high tower, where the concentrated energy is transformed into heat, which is used to drive a turbine. steam that powers an electrical energy generator.
This energy is used to pump seawater to a distance of 5 kilometers. Beyond the production of tomatoes, the factory also produces 1 million liters of water per day.
There are other companies developing similar projects, including BrightFarms (US), Phillips (Netherlands) or Aerofarms (US), a market valued in the billions of dollars.
More information: sundropfarms.com