You have to hand it to those United Arab Emirates Gulf states. Their futuristic projects are simply something out of a popular science fiction novel; and 25 years or so ago, they definitely would have been. Just look at the towering Burj in Dubai, artificial islands, or their wind-powered rotating skyscraper to get a taste. Or how about cooled sand while you lay on the beach in Dubai?
Environmental projects including specially designed buildings, business parks and residential centers are years ahead of other countries. And now, a project in Dubai is developing something even more awesome: A vertical farm that looks like something out of Star Trek and will use sea water to cool and humidify the crops, while converting the humidity into fresh water.
The concept is still in the planning phase, but from a logical standpoint the project makes a lot of sense since it will supply fresh vegetables and other crops as well as provide fresh water for drinking and other uses.
In fact, the unique design of the farm, which will consist of several large round, covered platforms , branching tree-like from a central shaft, will bring the cooled sea water inside to create wet, humid air; that when mixed with warm, dry air will condense into trickles of fresh water and will then be collected in special tanks for both irrigation and drinking.
The ‘three phase’ cooling and condensation process is described as follows by Ecofriend:
“The air going in the greenhouse is first cooled and humidified with seawater, providing necessary conditions for plant growth. As this air leaves the growing area it is mixed with warm dry air, making it more humid and more hot.
“This warm and humid air is then condensed, again using sweater, until condensed drops of fresh water appear. These drops are then collected in a tank and used to irrigate the crops.”
The idea of creating a very humid environment is also said to be enough to provide sufficient moisture for growing the plants as they will be growing in a “fresh and humid climate and not stressed by excessive transpiration.”
Many people wonder why such projects are being developed by countries who are extremely wealthy due to oil. The answer may be in that Dubai, Qatar, and others in the Persian Gulf region are very much aware that fossil fuels won’t last forever, and that with water scarcities and severe climate extremes in the region, environmental projects such as this one are an excellent way to deal with the realities of global warming and climate change – and help to find environmental friendly solutions while there is still time to do so.