martes, 18 de noviembre de 2014

Jellyfish Barge

The World Bank predicts that the world population will grow to almost 10 billion in the next four decades. By 2050, the global demand for food is expected to be 60-70% higher than today. Scarcity of water and cultivable land are the main obstacles to meet the quantitative and qualitative shifts of the world’s demand. Most of the potentially arable land is concentrated in a few geographical areas, and it is extremely scarce in many of the regions with high population growth rates, such as North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Agriculture is the human activity that relies most on the existing water resources. Currently in many parts of the world, such India, Pakistan and Southern Spain, the demand for water for agricultural purposes is satisfied by unsustainable methods such as over-extraction from underground reservoirs.

The scarcity of arable land and fresh water for agriculture is being exacerbated by changes in the climate, exposing many areas to increased risks and contribute to make them even more vulnerable to the problem of water and food security. The rising sea level, for example, contributes to flooding of extensive areas of fertile land with salt water. This phenomenon has already begun to occur with alarming frequency all over the Bay of Bengal.

Video by Studiomobile

Floating, self-sufficient cultivation module

© Matteo de Mayda 2014

Tackling these challenges in a holistic way can produce considerable improvement in water and food security of coastal communities. Jellyfish Barge is a module for crop cultivation that doesn’t rely on soil, fresh water and chemical energy consumption. Jellyfish Barge is a floating agricultural greenhouse, able to purify salt, brackish or polluted water using solar energy. Jellyfish Barge is built with low-cost technologies and simple materials, also appropriate to the self-construction paradigm. It consists of a wooden base of about 70 square meters that floats on recycled plastic drums and supports a glass greenhouse for crop cultivation.

Inside the greenhouse, a high-efficiency hydroponic cultivation method provides up to 70% of water savings compared to traditional hydroponic systems. The Jellyfish Barge has an innovative automated system with remote monitoring and control. Required water is supplied by 7 solar desalination units arranged around the perimeter that are able to produce up to 150 liters per day of clean fresh water from salt, brackish, or polluted water. Solar distillation is a natural phenomenon: in the seas, the sun’s energy evaporates water, which then falls as rain water.

The solar desalination system of the Jellyfish Barge replicates this phenomenon on a smaller scale, sucking in moist air and forcing it to condense within the drums in contact with the cold surface of the sea. The low energy required to power fans and pumps is provided by solar panels, mini wind turbines and an innovative system that exploits waves to produce electricity.

According to FAO, long-term successful strategies for agricultural development depend on technological innovation as well as on the ability of small farmers to be economic agents and to meet their own needs. Thus, Jellyfish Barge is novel in its ability to respond effectively with limited resources. For this reason it has been designed relatively small in size, capable of supporting two families, and is thus easy to build even in conditions with economic constraints. However, it is modular, so a single element is completely autonomous, while various flanked barges create a stronger and more resilient organism.

Jellyfish Barge comes from a project by Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto (Studiomobille) called Jellyfish Farm. It exploits the seawater desalinization process to cultivate floating vegetable gardens. The installation is sort of “neo-nature”, where recycled objects become an autonomous living organism.

© Studiomobile 2010

Jellyfish Barge is also a new sustainable lifestyle.
© Pnat 2014

See above how it can be inproved!


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