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These farms use sun and seawater to grow crops in the arid Australian desert

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Officially launched in October 2016 at Port Augusta in South Australia after a six-year pilot, it’s the first outpost of Sundrop Farms.

The company wants to make farming more resilient to climate change by using the desert’s plentiful sunshine, as well as piped-in seawater, to produce food in arid environments.

“Our farm grows more than 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes each year,” says CEO Philipp Saumweber. Sundrop’s tomato plants are grown hydroponically, free of soil, in a watery solution fed by nutrient-rich coconut husks. “Intake water is pumped, using sustainable electricity produced by our concentrated solar plant, in a 450mm pipe over 5km to our desalination unit,” Saumweber explains. As seawater is a natural disinfectant, the farm can operate pesticide-free.

Sundrop’s plant cost AUD$200 million to build, including a $100 million investment from private equity firm KKR. In 2016, Sundrop expanded to Portugal and Tennessee in the US, where it’s building farms to meet the needs of local supermarkets.

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Article originally posted at wired.uk

Post Author: Carla Parsons

1 thought on “These farms use sun and seawater to grow crops in the arid Australian desert

    Lindveld Stefanus Gary

    (October 29, 2017 - 7:52 am)

    Great!

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