With the growth of global population, urban development, climate change, and the increasing scarcity of fresh water in many regions, the security of food production is at risk worldwide. Agriculture is responsible for the largest drain on global freshwater resources. Addressing this challenge requires alternative and innovative strategies for local food production without increasing pressure on fresh water resources. The Red Sea Farms Saltwater Greenhouse system delivers a sustainable food security solution for water scarce regions in need of a saltwater-based, high-intensity, year-round, local food production system to feed growing and urban populations. This system combines two categories of research innovations: plant science (from co-founder Prof. Mark Tester) and agricultural engineering (from co-founder Dr. Ryan Lefers).
From the engineering side, the saltwater greenhouse is an agriculture system with a primary saltwater input that is capable of saving 70-95% of freshwater inpu...
With the growth of global population, urban development, climate change, and the increasing scarcity of fresh water in many regions, the security of food production is at risk worldwide. Agriculture is responsible for the largest drain on global freshwater resources. Addressing this challenge requires alternative and innovative strategies for local food production without increasing pressure on fresh water resources. The Red Sea Farms Saltwater Greenhouse system delivers a sustainable food security solution for water scarce regions in need of a saltwater-based, high-intensity, year-round, local food production system to feed growing and urban populations. This system combines two categories of research innovations: plant science (from co-founder Prof. Mark Tester) and agricultural engineering (from co-founder Dr. Ryan Lefers).
From the engineering side, the saltwater greenhouse is an agriculture system with a primary saltwater input that is capable of saving 70-95% of freshwater inputs and up to 50-95% of energy inputs when compared with other greenhouse technologies. The Saltwater greenhouse utilizes unique climate control techniques powered by saltwater, liquid desiccants, and smart control systems utilizing AI and machine learning algorithms. On the plant science side, significant advances have been made in developing salt tolerant tomatoes that taste better, have a higher content of Vitamin C, and have a longer shelf life. The tomatoes are developed through grafting and hybridization techniques (important note: the developed tomatoes are non-GMO). Other crops are currently under development and a full basket of crops is possible from the Saltwater Greenhouse.
Currently, Red Sea Farms is producing cherry tomatoes grown in saltwater-based hydroponics for sale into the market via a rented greenhouse space. The next step for Red Sea Farms is to build a commercial pilot greenhouse of 2,000 m2 that will integrated the patent-pending cooling systems with saltwater hydroponics in the Saltwater Greenhouse system. Installation of the Saltwater Greenhouse pilot facility is scheduled to begin on June 1st in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia on the KAUST campus. This pilot installation will be used as a reference to launch further into the national (Saudi) market, other MENA markets and international markets.
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