Sundrop Farms in the South Australian desert produces 15,000 tons of tomatoes per year using nothing more than sunlight and seawater. Crops are grown in a hydroponic greenhouse lined with water-soaked cardboard, without using any soil, pesticides, fossil fuels, or groundwater.
This incredible futuristic farm is the result of six years of research by an international team of scientists. Considering that the requirements of fresh water and energy are rising, scientists were working to find a way to produce crops without using them.
As explained by the team on their site, “A conventional greenhouse uses groundwater for irrigation, gas for heating, and electricity for cooling. A Sundrop greenhouse turns seawater and sunlight into energy and water. We then use sustainably sourced carbon dioxide and nutrients to maximize the growth of our crops.”
Scientists have made it possible to do conventional farming even in a desert region. The farm meets its water requirement from sea water that is desalinized using clean energy. The farm’s energy requirements are met by solar power generated by 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a receiver tower.
The system provides enough energy to keep the desalination plant working and power the greenhouse.