Did you know there is a way to grow tons of fresh fruits and vegetables with saltwater and solar energy? The good people at SunDrop Farms are doing just that with their Australian operation, where they grow 15 percent of the nation’s tomatoes. Seawater is piped in from a nearby gulf, desalinated using the reflected heat of the sun, and sprinkled on hydroponically grown produce in a revolutionary, renewable cycle of production.
SunDrop Farms’ operation is fossil fuel-free, freshwater-free, and soil-free, eliminating the need for some of the most financially and environmentally costly elements in the agriculture business. The company told Aljazeera their sustainable method of growing produce slashes “26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide” and 180 Olympic-sized swimming pools of fresh water each year, which is just what a rapidly growing population needs to offset human demand on Mother Earth.
A field of mirrors surround a massive solar tower, which reflect the sun onto this central point. The tower heats up to provide a steady temperature for the greenhouses and to desalinate one million liters of seawater per day. The tomatoes on their Australian farm are grown hydroponically in coconut coir and 15,000 tonnes are sold exclusively to the local Coles grocery chain every year. SunDrop Farms has locations in Australia, the UK, and the US and hopes to expand “cutting-edge, sustainable technology” to other locales in the near future.
Images via SunDrop Farms