Architecture

Floating off-grid greenhouse can feed two families

Floating off-grid greenhouse c...
The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of solar distillation (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of solar distillation (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
View 23 Images
The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of solar distillation (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of solar distillation (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
The Jellyfish Barge comprises a glass greenhouse supported by a wooden base (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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The Jellyfish Barge comprises a glass greenhouse supported by a wooden base (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
According to Studiomobile, the Jellyfish Barge measures 70 sq m (753 sq ft), though looks a bit smaller in the photos (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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According to Studiomobile, the Jellyfish Barge measures 70 sq m (753 sq ft), though looks a bit smaller in the photos (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
The Jellyfish Barge floats via 96 recycled plastic drums affixed underneath (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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The Jellyfish Barge floats via 96 recycled plastic drums affixed underneath (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
It can also be attached to any number of other Jellyfish Barge units to make a larger floating greenhouse (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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It can also be attached to any number of other Jellyfish Barge units to make a larger floating greenhouse (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
Inside the greenhouse, water for crops is produced using solar stills (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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Inside the greenhouse, water for crops is produced using solar stills (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
Studiomobile reckons the solar stills can produce up to 150 liters (39 US gallons) of fresh water per day (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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Studiomobile reckons the solar stills can produce up to 150 liters (39 US gallons) of fresh water per day (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
The Jellyfish Barge floating downriver (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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The Jellyfish Barge floating downriver (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
It's still early days yet for the Jellyfish Barge however, and a Studiomobile rep told Gizmag that the firm now aims to focus on optimization of the system and lowering build costs (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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It's still early days yet for the Jellyfish Barge however, and a Studiomobile rep told Gizmag that the firm now aims to focus on optimization of the system and lowering build costs (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
The Jellyfish Barge sports a high-efficiency hydroponic system (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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The Jellyfish Barge sports a high-efficiency hydroponic system (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
Studio mobile says the hydroponic system can save up to 70 percent more water than standard hydroponic systems (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
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Studio mobile says the hydroponic system can save up to 70 percent more water than standard hydroponic systems (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Early render of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
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Design drawing of the Jellyfish Barge (Image: Studiomobile)
View gallery - 23 images

Italian design office Studiomobile has teamed up with the University of Florence's Professor Stefano Mancuso, who is the director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, to produce a prototype floating greenhouse in a bid to improve food security in areas with little arable land. The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own clean water via an onboard system of solar distillation.

The Jellyfish Barge comprises a glass greenhouse supported by a wooden base, which measures 70 sq m (753 sq ft). It's buoyant thanks to 96 recycled plastic drums affixed underneath, and is modular, so can also be attached to any number of other Jellyfish Barge units.

The greenhouse can pump up the water it floats upon for irrigation, whether that happens to be river water, saltwater, or even polluted water. The water is made suitable for irrigation by treating it with seven onboard solar stills.

"Solar distillation is a natural phenomenon: in the seas, the sun's energy evaporates water, which then falls as rain water," explains Studiomobile. "In Jellyfish Barge the solar desalination system replicates this phenomenon in small-scale, sucking moist air and forcing it to condense into drums in contact with the cold surface of the sea. The low energy required to power fans and pumps is provided by systems exploiting renewable energy integrated in the structure."

Inside the greenhouse, water for crops is produced using solar stills (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)
Inside the greenhouse, water for crops is produced using solar stills (Photo: Matteo de Mayda)

There's also a rainwater catchment system on board and Studiomobile says the Jellyfish Barge is capable of producing up to 150 liters (39 US gallons) of fresh water per day in total.

The Jellyfish Barge features a hydroponic system too, that Studiomobile says is very efficient and can save up to 70 percent more water than standard hydroponic systems. This system can use around 15 percent seawater in order to boost efficiency. An automated system provides remote monitoring and control over the hydroponics.

Studiomobile reports that a single Jellyfish Barge unit is capable of producing enough food to support two families. It's still early days for the prototype yet though, and a company rep told Gizmag that the firm now aims to focus on optimization of the system and lowering build costs.

Source: Studiomobile

View gallery - 23 images
3 comments
Richard Guy
Very nice to see the solargreenhouse idea being extended to a new product but claiming it would feed two families is hyperbole. You might get two families' worth of tomatoes and peppers out of it. It takes much, much more space to produce enough food for that many people - using standard techniques, probably about an acre. Even with hydro you're not going to produce enough because the staples of diet: pulses, rice, potato, grain, take up vastly more space and are inefficient to produce in small acreages. One might squeeze out a few fish with aquaculture and pens and that could produce proteins, admittedly, but, again, the footprint would have to be much bigger to produce a sustainable supply. Great idea - why the need to exaggerate?
BT
It's real depressing to see an inferior version of something I invented 4 years ago and withheld for good reason... But why have forethought.. Putzes..
Steve Biddick
I guess that a system like this, made of bamboo and scrap blue bins would be easy to put together and farm more expensive & less space-consuming crops, or crops out of season.
Sounds like a fun project to make it from scrap materials and appropriate tech.