Sundrop farms is a pioneer in sustainable agriculture, in particular, in using sunlight and seawater to grow high value crops, including in arid regions. One of the main innovations of Sundrop farms is that the company’s production model disconnects traditional modes of agricultural production from their intense reliance on finite resources such as arable land, fresh water and grid electricity.
It is predicted that within 20-30 years unsustainable farming practices will reduce the productivity of arable land (per person) by as much as 50%, while the world’s population continues to grow. If the impact of climate change is added to this then the effect on food sustainability and the ability to feed the world’s population appear to be stark.
The innovative approach by Sundrop farms is to switch from traditional finite resources as the drivers of agricultural production and replace them with solar generated power, conversion of sea water, controlled environment growing conditions, and the use of otherwise non-arable land.
As the company states:
We can grow food year round without worrying about weather, season or soil quality – even in places where a drop of rain hardly ever falls.
The system is very simple: solar power is used to pump seawater into tanks and heat it, via a sealed oil pipes, to produce steam which then drives gas turbines to produce electricity. Some of the steam is used to provide warmth to the greenhouse growing areas during cold nights, while the rest is channelled into a desalination plant to provide thousands of litres of water for the greenhouse crops. The entire system, including the greenhouses, is both temperature and closed to the outside environment. Furthermore, the system can be set up on land which is not arable, can be scaled, can be established independently of grid-power or other greenhouse installations, and potentially produces clean food without significant environmental impact.