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From Expo 2015: the soilless greenhouses

There is a “green thread” that connects the Expo pavilions of some Western countries with those of Eastern countries: the presence of greenhouses for the soilless organic growing. This type of greenhouses are highly sustainable because they ensure:

  • saving of natural resources and of fertilizers,
  • a larger number of harvests thanks to a more rapid cycle of vegetation,
  • reduced environmental impact for the absence of pesticides.

Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar are just some of the countries which have developed a large-scale production of fruits and vegetables in soilless greenhouses.
Common goal: to provide fresh, healthy and organic food to the population. The specific reasons: in the countries of the desert, has been fundamental the natural lack of available land and water, while in the Western countries, has had strong influence the gradual concentration of the population in city. “According to the latest estimates of the United Nations … more than half the world’s population now lives in cities. A proportion set to grow by 70 percent in 2050. With the subsequent risk of running out of sufficient resources.” Hence the study of the Vertical Farms – greenhouses without soil, developed vertically to take up less space and designed to supply the urban centers – which was recently presented at the Expo.

Hydroponics greenhouse
In this type of greenhouses, a substrate of inert material replaces the soil. This is irrigated with water and nutrients, ensuring a water savings up to 70% of fertilizer and up to 80%.

hydroponic

Aquaponics greenhouse
In this system, the fish farming joined the cultivation in a mutually beneficial exchange. The water of the fish-holding tanks, enriched by fish waste matter, is pumped into greenhouses. The roots absorb the waste products as essential nutrients and they clean the water which is returned purified to the tanks.
The water saving is around 90%.

aquaponics

Aeroponics greenhouse
The roots are left free to grow outside of any substrate. The water enriched with the fertilizer is directly sprayed on the roots in the form of water vapor. The water saving achieved is about 90%.

aeroponic

In addition to the greenhouses, at the Expo were also presented other innovative systems and not to support agriculture. In Qatar, for example, it was created an efficient system of desalination of sea water to replenish the aquifer located below the desert and required for greenhouse cultivation.
In Oman,the people rely on precise management of ancient canals that distribute water across the territory for a short time but steadily.





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