British expertise to bring seawater-based glasshouses to Africa

Researchers at Birmingham's Aston University will be part of an international project to design and install glasshouses that will use seawater to grow crops in the Horn of Africa.

Artist's impression: Aston University
Artist's impression: Aston University

The £722,000 project aims to overcome the region's inhospitable conditions to help farmers drastically increase their crop yields and provide them with a dependible income.

Water from the sea will be pumped using solar energy and while some will be desalinated fro irrigation, the remainder will be used for cooling and humidification.

The Aston team, led by Dr Philip Davies and Dr Sotos Generalis, will provide expertise in seawater cooling, desalination and airflow dynamics, integrating these into the final design.

Davies said: "We will be working very closely with our partners in Somaliland to increase our understanding of the local challenges and to make sure our contributions are effective."

The project is funded by government agency Innovate UK with support from the Department for International Development (DfID) under the Agri-tech Catalyst Industrial Research strategy.


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