The floating greenhouse: Jellyfish Barge

Surveys by the World Bank show that a 60-70% increased demand for food is likely to be experienced within the three and a half decades leading to 2050. Not only is food security a matter of international concern, but it is also of environmental importance. Agriculture is dependent on fresh water supply, arable land and storage and distribution networks that pose an economic and environmental burden. We need a sustainable, safe and stable solution that can aim towards providing relief to conventional agriculture. One such effort is the Jellyfish Barge.

Created by the group of designers and biologists at Pnat, Italy, the Jellyfish Barge is a floating greenhouse module that aims to combat the dire need for sustainable agriculture witnessed by communities exposed to water bodies. It is made up of a greenhouse surrounded by seven desalination units which rest atop an octagonal wooden base that floats with the help of recycled plastic drums. The pumps take the water from below and pass it through the stills which operate on the principles of evaporation and condensation to provide 150 liters of clean water per day. The pumps and power fans are powered by the solar panels that sit around the barge. Scaffoldings are present in the interior of the barge. Along with hydroponics, the crops receive the necessary sunlight and water for growth. Pnat estimates that the hydroponic watering results in 70% less usage than standard methods.

The Jellyfish Barge is made for intensive cultivation. With no consumption of land, traditional energy demands and fresh water requirements, it provides a feasible and green solution to strengthening food security. A cluster of barges can be expected to support communities by providing sustainable agricultural practices within the limits of physical resources. The CEO of Pnat, Camillia Pandolfi states, “Lack of fresh water and arable land are the main barriers to food security in many areas of the world. These countries rely on food imports. Jellyfish Barge in this context can be a disruptive innovation to produce local food without using water, energy or land.”

In April 2015, the project won the second prize in the UNECE “Ideas4change” call for innovative solutions and in July, Cristiana Favretto, co-founder of Pnat, was selected to present Jellyfish Barge at the USA Pavilion, Feeding the Accelerator that discussed innovative ideas that address the challenge of feeding the world. In August, the design was one of the five winners to be presented with International Award for Innovative Ideas and Technologies on Agribusiness held by UNIDO.

Traditional agriculture no longer supports the necessitation of feeding the population since it has dried the land, emptied our water reservoirs and is not sustainable. In order to neutralize, we must realize the significance of efforts like Jellyfish Barge.

Country of Origin: Italy

Year: 2015


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