Seawater Greenhouse - History

History

The seawater greenhouse concept was first researched and developed in 1991 by Charlie Paton's company Light Works Ltd, now Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. The first pilot project commenced in 1992 with the search for a test site that was eventually found on the Canary Island of Tenerife. A prototype seawater greenhouse was assembled in the UK and constructed on the site in Tenerife. The results from this pilot project validated the concept and demonstrated the potential for other arid regions.

The original pilot design evolved into a lower cost solution using a lighter steel structure, similar to a multi-span polytunnel. This structure was designed to be cost effective and suitable for local sourcing. The design was first tested and validated through a second seawater greenhouse that was constructed on Al-Aryam Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2000. The year 2004 saw the completion of a third pilot seawater greenhouse near Muscat, Oman in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University, providing an opportunity to develop a sustainable horticultural sector on the Batinah coast. These projects have enabled the validation of a thermodynamic simulation model which, given appropriate meteorological data, accurately predict and quantify how the seawater greenhouse will perform in other parts of the world.

In 2010, Seawater Greenhouse built a new commercial installation in Australia. The enterprise is now independently operating as Sundrop Farms Pty Ltd .

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