Floating farms of the future

Are floating farms the answer to solving world hunger? Fish and crops harvested on ocean rigs could feed Earth’s rising population

  • A team from Barcelona has designed floating farms that could feed the world in upcoming decades
  • The multi-levelled structures would be used to catch more than 1.7 million fish a year
  • Solar panels on the roof would harness sunlight, while crops could also be grown on a second level
  • They would be located near areas that need food the most as Earth’s population surpasses 9 billion 

 

A bold set of designs look to tackle food supplies in an overpopulated Earth by using a series of floating farms.

The designs propose using buoyant, offshore rigs, which will take farming to the world’s waters.

Each farm will harvest three sources – fish, crops, and sunlight – and will be located near areas where food is most needed.

A team from Barcelona has designed floating farms (illustrated) that could feed the world in upcoming decades. The multi-levelled structures would be used to catch more than 1.7 million fish a year. Solar panels on the roof would harness sunlight, while crops could also be grown

A team from Barcelona has designed floating farms (illustrated) that could feed the world in upcoming decades. The multi-levelled structures would be used to catch more than 1.7 million fish a year. Solar panels on the roof would harness sunlight, while crops could also be grown

It’s estimated by 2050, Earth’s population will have reached 9.1 billion, which will see the demand for food rise by around 70 per cent.

In order to tackle these challenges, the ‘Smart Floating Farm’ (SFF) concept, designed by architect Javier Ponce and Jakub Dycha of Barcelona-based company Forward Thinking Agriculture, will look to work in tandem with traditional farmers.

On the bottom level, closed to the outdoors, workers will catch fish on the order of 1.7 million a year. This level will also feature wave barriers, boat docks, storage, a packaging area and processing centre.

The second level will focus on hydroponics – a method of growing crops without soil – which will require no natural precipitation in order to be maintained.

The plans propose using treated water from an on-board desalination plant to replace traditional soil as a way to nourish the plants.

On the bottom level (shown), closed to the outdoors, workers will catch fish, on the order of 1.7 million a year. This level will also feature wave barriers, boat docks, storage, a packaging area and processing centre

On the bottom level (shown), closed to the outdoors, workers will catch fish, on the order of 1.7 million a year. This level will also feature wave barriers, boat docks, storage, a packaging area and processing centre

The second level (shown) will focus on hydroponics - a method of growing crops without soil - which will require no natural precipitation in order to be maintained. The plans propose using treated water from an on-board desalination plant to replace soil as a way to nourish plants

The second level (shown) will focus on hydroponics – a method of growing crops without soil – which will require no natural precipitation in order to be maintained. The plans propose using treated water from an on-board desalination plant to replace soil as a way to nourish plants

Each farm will harvest three sources - fish, crops, and sunlight - and will be located near areas where food is most needed 

The designers predict this method will produce 8.15 million kilos (17.97 million lbs) of vegetables each year with the level above being used for solar panels, which will power the likes of fans and tools.

They said: ‘Facing the current challenges of cities growing, land consumption and climate change, I believe projects like the Smart Floating Farms can help change some of the existing practices.

‘These practices have led us to the present situation and open new possibilities which can improve the quality of human life and the environment.

‘Based on a floating multi-layered strategy, which combines aquaculture (fish), hydroponics (crops) and photovoltaics (solar power), we aim that these floating farms can be located close to areas where food is more needed and potentially become automated farm clusters run by the use of software.’

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