Self-Contained Aquaponics Solar Greenhouse

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= The Aquaponic Integrated Food Energy and Water System (IFEWS) currently produces fish and vegetables with zero energy inputs.


John Robb:

"One of the solutions to growing food during more frequent and severe droughts is to use aquaponics.

Aquaponics is a gardening system that combines both fish farming and hydroponics. It very good system to use during a drought, since it uses much less water than traditional gardening (more on aquaponics automation and business thinking).

Since my research indicates that droughts are going to be much more frequent in the future, I've been on the hunt for interesting aquaponics projects for quite a while now.

Luckily, I met the entrepreneurial innovators at Portland Purple Water, a company that provides rainwater harvesting and aquaponics systems. They introduced me to a system Franz Schreier. Franz' design and prototype of an Aquaponics Solar Greenhouse is the most advanced I've seen. It's designed to operate without any external energy input.

Technical Note: His greenhouse combines everything from special coatings on the greenhouse glass (better performance than standard glass) to rotating solar panels (to use the light energy the plants can't use) to PAR light films (these films can shift light from green, a color that plants don't use much for photosynthesis, to other usable colors) to a sulfur plasma lamp (an artificial light source that can mimic the sun).

Portland Purple Water are trying to raise the money, using Kickstarter, to build a larger version of this system.

Here are the goals:

   Scott Yelton (he's a partner at Portland Purple Water) is building a blog and discussion zone for donors (like me) and CSA members to participate in the construction of the system.
   Demonstrate the viability of an Aquaponics CSA (community supported agriculture).  The difference between this type of CSA and traditional ones is that this CSA can supply members with weekly baskets of produce throughout the ENTIRE year.
   Use the system as an incubator for other aquaponics efforts."

(Resilience newsletter, July 2012)

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