Future Think: Floating deep farms promise year round production of food crops
With the global population expected to reach over nine billion by 2050, food production will need to increase by almost 70 per cent to meet the increasing demand.
However, rising sea levels caused by climate change are likely to lead to increased erosion and inundation of salt water, reducing the amount of land available for farming, particularly on small islands and in low-lying coastal regions.
Now researchers at Nottingham University have developed the concept of floating deep farms, consisting of large vertical shafts or containers, submerged under seawater near coastal areas.
The containers, which could be used to grow a variety of crops, could also act as a sink for carbon dioxide captured from the local environment.
The project is the brainchild of Prof Saffa Riffat, chair in sustainable energy at Nottingham’s faculty of engineering, and research fellow Prof Yijun Yuan, a specialist in mining engineering and sustainable energy.
In October, 2018 the pair unveiled plans to build underground farms within the disused tunnels of depleted coal, salt and gold mines in countries such as the UK and China. They have since had interest in the idea from as far afield as the US and South Africa.
To develop the idea further, the researchers have now filed a series of six patents on the use of such deep farms in land, seawater, and rivers.
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