Growing food on water up to 200x more efficient than on land

Blue21: Growing food on water up to 200x more efficient than on land


According to a recent study presented at the Amsterdam International Water Week 2015, growing food on water is up to 200 times more efficient compared to average agriculture on land.

Barbara Dal Bo Zanon, architect and researcher at DeltaSync, is currently working on the research.

What are you researching?

“The research is about the potential of floating productive developments for urban areas. We estimated the amount of nutrients and carbon dioxide produced by cities and used these data as input for calculating microalgae yields. Basing on biofuel and food yields from microalgae, we estimated the water surface required for floating productive developments. There is strong indication that food production on water needs 130 to 150 times less area compared to global agriculture on land. Considering the sequestration area (forest carbon storage) which is necessary for compensating the emissions of land agriculture and it would be saved by growing food on water, this efficiency can be over 200 times.”

Which cities could benefit the most?

“Growing cities located in coastal areas. Integrating algae farms with energy and food production systems on water could be a very interesting solution for these cities.”

What is the main aim of the research?

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the potential of reusing ‘waste’ as resource and to investigate the efficiency of productive developments on water.”

What’s next?

“These research findings will help to bring our work to the next step. After demonstrating the potential of floating productive developments, technology integration in pilot projects will be necessary to implement and test these concepts in practice.”

Read the full paper here