Barcelona’s FTA designs floating solar farm to prevent food shortages

28 May 2015 (Last Updated May 28th, 2015 18:30)

Barcelona-based Forward Thinking Architecture (FTA) has launched an innovative concept to construct a solar-powered vertical farm that floats offshore and provides a viable solution to future food scarcity issues.

solar powered vertical farm

Barcelona-based Forward Thinking Architecture (FTA) has launched an innovative concept to construct a solar-powered vertical farm that floats offshore and provides a viable solution to future food scarcity issues.

Designed by FTA architects Javier Ponce and Jakub Dycha, the smart floating farms (SFF) include a modular-expandable, multi-layered buoyancy system that integrates solar energy, hydroponics, green growing and aquaculture.

The farms will be installed in open sea areas to eliminate the use of large land properties and minimise agricultural imports.

Each farm will yield fish, crops and sunlight, and will be placed near areas with high food demands.

A single module measuring 200m by 350m is anticipated to harvest 8,152t of vegetables and 1,703t of fish a year.

FTA principal Javier Ponce said: "Facing the current challenges of cities growing, land consumption and climate change, I believe projects like the Smart Floating Farms can help change some of the existing paradigms, which have led us to our present situation, and open new possibilities, which can improve the quality of human life and the environment."

"Each farm will yield fish, crops and sunlight, and will be placed near areas with high food demands."

The SFF will be developed in multiple layers with workers catching fish in the lower section. This level will also have wave barriers, boat docks, a hatchery for fish eggs, a nursery for growing fish, a slaughterhouse, storage, a packaging area and a processing centre.

The next level will feature hydroponics; a method for cultivating crops without soil thus removing the need for natural precipitation. An on-board desalination facility has been proposed to supply the greenhouse plants with sufficient water.

Solar panels will be installed in the upper level to generate power to operate fans and tools for the farm. It may also have rainwater collectors and skylight openings to provide the plants with natural light.

The farm design also includes the possibility for integration of other renewable power technologies, such as micro wind turbines or wave energy converter systems in the third level.


Image: Smart floating farm design. Photo: courtesy of Forward Thinking Architecture.