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A closed-loop, drought-independent agriculture method that could be placed across a variety of harsh climates

The population is estimated to reach nine billion by 2050, putting huge strains on food outputs. Combine this with climate change and desertification – leading to smaller amounts of arable land for crop production – and existing irrigation practices that over-extract groundwater and you begin to see how various global factors overlap to pose one giant challenge for sustainable food production.

One of the winners of Shell’s Springboard programme, London-based Seawater Greenhouse, has, as the name suggests, developed a pioneering greenhouse system that evaporates seawater to create an ideal climate for crop cultivation.

According to the company, the process that takes place in their “coolhouses” can reduce demand on fresh water for crop use by up to 90%. Solar-powered desalination operations provide the irrigation for the plants. The result, the company claims, is a closed-loop, drought-independent agriculture method that could be placed across a variety of harsh climates. Alongside the other two Springboard finalists, the company will enter finals in May 2018, where they will compete for the overall prize of £150,000. (Source: Edie Net Apple-based leather and seawater greenhouses: the best green innovations of the week)