Floating Farms | Agriculture Industry [ Insights Success ]

Floating Farms: An upcoming Revolution in the agricultural Industry?

The Forward-thinking architecture company in Barcelona; with architect Javier Ponce at its helm, think they have a solution to the one of the impending food crisis facing the world.

The company’s Smart Floating Farms (SFF) concept is a sustainable, solar-powered standing farm that floats on cruisers, making it possible to grow food off a coast, in the open sea or just about any large water body. The architects estimate that SFF can produce a calculated 8,152 tons of vegetables and 1,703 tons of fish annually.

Worsening climate conditions with an exponential population increase are pushing us towards the edge of a global disaster. With worldwide population expected to soar to 9.6   billion by 2050, food production will have to be incremented by seventy percent globally and even by nearly one hundred percent in the developing countries, compared to the present statistical consumption.

Abiding by the conventional method of food agriculture, in order to meet these conditions, we will need resources such as ground and water to meet these conditions, both of which are heavily stressed. And this is what led Javier Ponce, along with ‘Smart Floating Farms’, idealize the concept of effective and efficient food production through their unique conception.

But how will it work? The company wants to move farms on large bodies of water in lieu of producing them on the land. It envisions that the triple-decker Smart Floating Farms as they’re called; would feature 2.2 million square feet of fish farms, a hydroponic garden, and solar panels on the roof to power the barge. They could be moored to the sea beds of oceans, lakes and rivers, and could be moved around by yacht as needed.

The different levels would be broken up by function, each of which would feed into and help to power the other. The beam would be covered in skylights and photovoltaic solar cells that would convert sunlight into various forms of energy.

Formulation and Concept of the design

The architecture shows a 24 meter tall, three-level structure with solar panels at the roof to provide energy. The intermediate level grows a variety of vegetation over an area of 51,000 square meters, using nutrients in the liquid instead of the use of soil in the conventional agricultural farming. These nutrients and plant substances would drop into the bottom level to feed fish, which are farmed in a surrounded space, to cultivate fish farming.

Split-up of the Architecture

Productive agriculture answers differently to situations based on the parameters of location, resource availability, climatic changes etc. It is important that the production value remains constant, even when the above-stated factors differ by a considerable margin.

The farm, comprising of three levels, thus can be stacked or varied in different ways to suit the needs of the respective locations, without hindering the amount of food production.

The topmost plane combines rainwater accumulators needed for irrigation purposes, photovoltaic sheets for electricity and skylight openings to supply natural lights for plants. It’s also feasible to integrate other renewable power technologies such as small-scale wind turbines and wave energy modulator systems.

The second level highlights a greenhouse space and hydroponic systems (Innovative method that allows plants to grow in and out without soil even under unfavorable factors and conditions.

Lastly, the third and bottom-most level is framed for offshore aquaculture. It also embodies a hatchery where fish eggs would be ruminated and hatched, a conservatory for growing fish, a slaughterhouse and a reservoir to store the fish before they are ready for the market.

Future: An impossible approach or the next big Revolution?

Questions arise whether these supportable farms can actually make a dent in the impending food crisis, since they are likely to incur huge start-up and operating costs. Other factors, such as the adaptability, climatic environment, production costs and practical implementations will act as barriers might oppose the business model.

Javier D. Ponce, chief executive of the SFF project, says, “At this moment, there’s no need to clarify non-conclusive figures. Many factors of the project will depend on the location, market tendencies, the type of products, etc.

Although there are various challenges that could affect the outcome of this venture, this project still represents a hope for humanity with an innovative idea which could provide a sustainable food source for years to come.

Harshdeep Singh Abbott

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