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James Greyson

Aug 23, 2011
09:30

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Thanks for adding this, Raffaella. Very interesting project, usefully targeting restoration rather than just reduced impacts. May I ask: How do you get energy for the pumps and fans? Is this solar pv? How is the durability and recyclability of the components, plastics, metal frames, machines etc? It would be great to know that the pieces have C2C built in. Lovely to hear there are plans for open sourcing the concept, since the website makes it look like a conventional sales business. Open sourcing could be a super way to both build the business, develop the concepts and make it happen everywhere. It will be fun to see the 'ecosystem' of the project develop over time, as for example crop residues are used to make compost and biochar, evaporative walls are attached to dwellings for cooling, agro-forests expand around greenhouses and mobile greenhouses revert dead land back to life. Would be splendid to see this expand to the point where deserts are rolled back and reforested areas create their own moist micro-climates. I wonder how this project can be best linked with other food and agriculture proposals on the CoLab. Would that be interesting for you to try to combine somehow to make a larger overall climate-related proposal with perhaps a bigger chance in the contest? Which proposals might you like to work with? One option would be to keep the individual proposal and start a new food and agriculture proposal that brings together multiple opportunities for combining food security and climate security globally. Glad of your thoughts. Please consider making comments also on other proposals. It would be great to see the community of proposers swapping ideas and tips.

Mike Matessa

Aug 23, 2011
11:34

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You're right that fresh water is an increasingly important problem. Have you considered using reverse osmosis for desalination in your proposal? I believe it is a more efficient process.

Raffaella Bellanca

Aug 24, 2011
09:45

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Dear Blindspotter, Pumps and fans are currently PV powered. The fan system ingeniously optimizes itself, more sun it gets (higher energy input as well as higher need for cooling) more wind it produces. For the rest nothing forbids the use of other renewables, whatever makes most sense in the particular place. Durability and recyclability are down to the components used. In that respect, this a normal greenhouse, whatever you prefer to use you can use, we haven’t designed that bit. I saw bamboo made greenhouses… wouldn’t that be cool! The evaporator is made of cardboard. More information is available here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seawater_Greenhouse Yes, opensourcing would be great, even that costs money… Reforestation is one of the dreams… compost, biofuel or pellets for local consumption (I love the Protos stoves), and palms and other resistant stuff… and then slowly but surely more biodiversity and the reconstruction of an ecosystem. Yes. (Sorry I’m not a fan of biochar, quite yet, but good luck with it.) Regarding collaboration and interactions with climate initiatives we have written a concept note which might be helpful? Can I attach it? Of the 16 proposals listed (am I looking correctly?) I haven’t spotted some that would naturally fit (judging from the title) Dear mmatessa, Yes reverse osmosis is more efficient but this system is to grow crops not to produce water. It does that by sensibly reducing the need for water in the first place and providing a humid and cooler environment where plants grow faster and better. It also reduces the need for pesticides (in fact there hasn’t been a need so far, but proper research would be needed to support the limited empirical evidence). Moreover, reverse osmosis requires lots of energy… well, evaporation too but it has the multiple function of cooling, humidifying and just then producing fresh water.

Colin Springthorpe

Aug 24, 2011
02:37

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Hi to all, I have been working on my idea for about two years. I have sent details and drawings all around the World, check it out on the web. Enter Climate change idea colin springthorpe, this year some one hacked into my hotmail account. I lost all the list of contacts which I sent this idea to, but I had keep hard copys of emails sent. So any one that wanted to get incontact with me by email, could not. As I had to change my email address, out of the 300 emails I sent no one that replyed said that I was Mad. I sent detail to facebook wall Act on co2 and also Get it green, a chinese face book wall. The only information I did not send was the design of the pump, this idea is not new. It was used in about 1750 in Chile, if any one would like any details on my reasech. Please contact me. Regards Colin UK

Raffaella Bellanca

Aug 24, 2011
02:29

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Hi Colin, Yes please send us more details regarding pumps and the rest Best Raffa

Rob Laubacher

Aug 26, 2011
05:43

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Hi Raffa, Very interesting. My question: How broadly applicable is this approach? Is this a niche approach, suitable primarily for arid regions? Or could this become very widespread? The prior question is likely tied to the economics of this method. I assume from the description that it's rather capital intensive. Are the countervailing efficiencies that outweigh the high capital costs? Would this sort of approach be applicable in more vertical (e.g. urban) settings? Or does it require a large (horizontal footprint?

Raffaella Bellanca

Aug 31, 2011
01:16

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Hi there, Many thanks for your comments The approach is very much limited to arid and hot regions, obviously close to the sea (or in areas where seawater can be pumped or led). Still this would apply to most of the coast of North Africa, Middle East, Australia, northern Mexico, Peru’… more than a niche I would say. The economy of the SG depends greatly on the settings. Investments for a seawater greenhouse are similar to investments for regular greenhouses, but a little cheaper because power comes for free, water too and the land is otherwise useless and therefore less costly. Looking at it as a normal investment object, the requirements are that it has to be big enough to justify the initial capital costs, produce the right things with the right value chain in place. But really… this is not just about normal investment… it is a way to regain land to biological activity… the foot print is surely horizontal but it is a positive one!!! You could think it as a cheap way (it does produce goods as a by product) to reforest desertified areas and gradually redevelop biodiversity on it. In international development settings things are different. We do not know how a small farmer’s greenhouse would look like. Not before we build one. In this case the capital investment could be fairly low… preferring labour intensive to cost intensive solutions. Again to look at this as return on investment would be reductive. The goal here is climate adaptation, food security, easing the pressure on water resources, create economic development… and ultimately reduce reasons for conflict in very fragile regions. How much are we prepared to pay for this? Better than paying for refugees camps when things go bad because of wars or droughts or the two together? Regarding urban settings, surely not for this particular seawater application, but you might be interested in Charlie’s latest attempt. He has built a Rooftop Greenhouse on top of the office in London… lots of tomatoes, roof insulation and a smart heating solution that takes the extra heat from the roof and pumps it down to warm up the ground floor. The air is also clean and nice, courtesy of plants perspiration. This is just an experiment (small surface) but schools, hospitals, prisons, airports, hospices, supermarkets could all host similar structures… and in that case it could also make economic sense. We believe. Raffa

James Greyson

Sep 6, 2011
10:20

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Thanks Raffa, the PV power is lovely. Good luck with the open-sourcing - the way you've put it up here hopefully will help attract lots more interest. Yes feel free to add your concept note or any other material as links in your proposal. Images can be inserted directly and other can go on your site and be linked - is that ok? I like the protos stoves too though wouldn't swap mine for one where both the fuel and the cooker cost money. One of the advantages of biochar cookers is being able to use biomass by-products rather than processed crops such as oils. In desert areas biochar could give back the water+nutrient retention that's been lost. I've added a new proposal about biochar so you can judge for yourself - glad to hear of any tips/concerns as a comment on Carbon-negative 'biochar economies'. Please also feel free to comment on any other proposals - lots of potential for mixing ideas between proposers. James

2011 Judges

Oct 11, 2011
06:46

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Overall assessment: Interesting but impact likely to be narrow. Specific comments and suggestions for improvement: - This proposal also focuses on one small aspect of the global economy. Seawater greenhouses, even if they become quite popular, will stay a niche application suitable for some regions only. That said, this is definitely an idea worth pursuing if the energy requirements are lower than that of a conventional greenhouse. - This is a good concept, but it is not sufficiently developed to judge its value.
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