Jellyfish Barge: Biomimicry At Its Best

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The Jellyfish Barge, if you have not heard word about it, is one potential worldwide food and water solution, which deserves high praise. Here is what the designers an biologists at the think tank Pnat set their stage, citing World Bank population projections.

“The World Bank predicts that the world population will grow to almost 10 billion in the next four decades. By 2050, the global demand for food is expected to be 60-70% higher than today. Scarcity of water and cultivable land are the main obstacles to meet the quantitative and qualitative shifts of the world’s demand. Agriculture is the human activity that relies most on the existing water resources. The scarcity of arable land and fresh water for agriculture is being exacerbated by changes in the climate, exposing many areas to increased risks and contribute to make them even more vulnerable to the problem of water and food security.”

Unfortunately, this is not a matter of idle conjecture. These are hard realities facing our population in the middle of this century.

Enter the Jellyfish Barge, a holistic platform improving water and food security of coastal communities. It is a module for crop cultivation that doesn’t rely on soil, fresh water, and chemical energy consumption, according to Pnat.

Jellyfish Barge JFB-RENDER-3-web

Floating, Water-Purifying Greenhouse

The Jellyfish Barge happens to be a floating agricultural greenhouse. It can purify salty, brackish, or polluted water using solar energy, and is built using low-cost technologies and “simple materials.” The foundation structure of the Jellyfish Barge is a wooden base, some 70 meters square, which floats on recycled plastic drums. Above water is a glass greenhouse for crop cultivation.

Jellyfish Barge 2 JFF
Jellyfish Barge comes from a project by Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto (Studiomobille) called Jellyfish Farm. It exploits the seawater desalinization process to cultivate floating vegetable gardens. The installation is sort of “neo-nature,” where recycled objects become an autonomous living organism.

Solar Desalination of Seawater

Pnat writes about the greenhouse: “Inside the greenhouse, a high-efficiency hydroponic cultivation method provides up to 70% of water savings compared to traditional hydroponic systems. Required water is supplied by 7 solar desalination units arranged around the perimeter that are able to produce up to 150 liters per day of clean fresh water from salt, brackish, or polluted water. Solar distillation is a natural phenomenon: in the seas, the sun’s energy evaporates water, which then falls as rain water. The solar desalination system of the Jellyfish Barge replicates this phenomenon on a smaller scale. It is modular, so a single element is completely autonomous, while various flanked barges create a stronger and more resilient organism.”

On its website, Pnat states its work covers the fields of sustainable architecture, bio design, education, urban ecology, and material engineering, as it mimics “patterns of natural processes lead to face emerging problems such as environmental changes and depletion of resources in a sustainable way.”

May our world soon see fleets of self-sustaining Jellyfish Barges.

Images: Pnat

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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