Seawater Greenhouse

Seawater Greenhouse growing food in the desert

5.4 Seawater Greenhouse


For a more sustainable way of agriculture I like the approach of Seawater Greenhouse. A moist microclimate is created inside greenhouses in the desert through the use of an adapted pad and fan technology. Electric fans powered by solar power blow saltwater through pads of corrugated card. The salt and some of the water stays on the outside of the pad, while the moist damp on the other side contains freshwater. The salty water on the outside is called brine. Most of this water can be used to cool the greenhouses and everything that can’t be used for cooling anymore is filtered further down into the water, salt, and other minerals. One of these minerals is lithium, which is very important for the battery industry.

In Jordan Seawater Greenhouse is working together with the Sahara Forest Project (SFP)63 Their aim is not only to grow more food in the desert. The Sahara Forest Project also wants to use residual water vapor to create an oasis effect that extends past the greenhouse and make a lasting change in the landscape. Although this is a great initiative, it doesn’t mean that you can just start seawater greenhouses on each desert shore. Just as with community tourism it is very important to work closely together with the local communities. For example, to avoid too much competition with traditional local farmers the greenhouse owners aren’t selling all their vegetables on the local markets yet. To still be profitable they currently sell part of their fresh vegetable to the Italian Cruise Line AIDA.

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