Modular floating hydroponic units "could feed millions"

A SeaLeaf unit - image:SeaLeaf
A SeaLeaf unit - image:SeaLeaf
Four former students at the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College, London have created a modular hydroponic unit that can house growing vegetables while floating at sea.

In theory, a network of "SeaLeaf" offshore farms could feed millions, the team has said - particularly as most so-called megacities are on the coast. Already trials have shown that the units are capable of yielding seven to eight harvests of bok choi a year.

The SeaLeaf units are made of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and are able to adjust the amount of sunlight reaching the plants, but the idea is based on traditional growing practices in Bangladesh.

The project recently won a Core77 design award, and the team are now attempting to gain approval and funding for a full-scale pilot off Singapore, while also developing a reverse-osmosis system to purify seawater rather than rely on rainwater.

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