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Old 11-26-2012, 06:09 AM   #24
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 115

Over the weekend saw this fascinating article with mention about raising fish in the desert, along with other foods, vegetables in particular. If this pans out this could be a game changer in our food supply.

"Another Kick in the Teeth for Malthus"



Today we bring you something straight out of a science fiction novel: Scientists have found a way to produce nearly unlimited amounts of food in the desert, fueled by desalinated salt water and sunlight. It sounds like a pipe dream, but its notits already happening in Australia and Qatar, and may soon spread further if these early trials deliver on their initial promise.
The Guardian explains how the system works:
Indeed, the work that Sundrop Farms, as they call themselves, are doing in South Australia, and just starting up in Qatar, is beyond the experimental stage. They appear to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.
So far, the company has grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by the tonne, but the same, proven technology is now almost ready to be extended to magic out, as if from thin air, unlimited quantities of many more crops and even protein foods such as fish and chicken but still using no fresh water and close to zero fossil fuels. Salty seawater, it hardly needs explaining, is free in every way and abundant rather too abundant these days, as our ice caps melt away. . .
A 75m line of motorised parabolic mirrors that follow the sun all day focuses its heat on a pipe containing a sealed-in supply of oil. The hot oil in turn heats nearby tanks of seawater pumped up from a few metres below ground the shore is only 100m away. The oil brings the seawater up to 160C and steam from this drives turbines providing electricity. Some of the hot water from the process heats the greenhouse through the cold desert nights, while the rest is fed into a desalination plant that produces the 10,000 litres of fresh water a day needed to keep the plants happy. The water the grower gets is pure and ready for the perfect mix of nutrients to be added. The air in the greenhouse is kept humid and cool by trickling water over a wall of honeycombed cardboard evaporative pads through which air is driven by wind and fans. The system is hi-tech all the way; the greenhouse is in a remote spot, but the grower, a hyper-enthusiastic 27-year-old Canadian, Dave Pratt, can rather delightfully control all the growing conditions for his tonnes of crops from an iPhone app if hes out on the town or even home in Ontario....
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