One project that is pioneering the world of sustainable vegetable growing is Sundrop Farms. The company operates a groundbreaking greenhouse in North Adelaide, Australia that relies solely on sunlight and seawater to grow tomatoes.
The project took several years to build the infrastructure required to get the greenhouse growing and involved a small pilot test facility before building their commercial farm. In fact, at this moment in time, it is the only farm that operates solely on solar power and seawater. When you come across it, you would be forgiven for believing you have stepped into the future. The facility has more than 23,000 mirrors that reflect light at a power tower.
The power tower stores the electricity needed for the day to day operations, it can store up to 10 days electricity so this means the farm is well ready for any sudden changes of weather. Only in extreme circumstances to they pull any power from the grid, mostly it is never needed.
The tower can produce a massive 39 megawatts of thermal energy which can be used for heating and to make water also. Because Sundrop Farm desalinates seawater to keep their tomatoes hydrated. This is an amazing technique as desalinated water is essential to perfect for growing: no bacteria or chemicals, it is very clean. The water is super pure, which means their tomatoes can grow quickly free of any diseases.
Times have not always been easy though for Mr. Samweber, the head of the project, explained during the early days a whole roof was blown off their greenhouse which caused them to lose a whole crop. And the endeavor required $200 million to build, made possible by a KKR firm investing around $100 million into the project.
A lot of money, but something the company believes is well spent and worthwhile: growing vegetables in eco-sustainable and business profitable way.