Self-Powered Hydroponic Solar Greenhouse Harvests Food and Electricity

September 26, 2018 by

What does the future of urban farming look like? For Marjan van Aubel, it’s Power Plant, a self-powered hydroponic solar greenhouse she showcased last week at the London Design Biennale.

Power Plant’s transparent solar glass is not only visually appealing, it’s the power source for a hydroponic system that pumps nutrient enriched water to nourish plants, saving up to 90% of water usage compared to traditional soil farming.

Plants grow vertically while sunlight and specifically colored LEDs maintain the greenhouse’s temperature, enabling year-round growth and yielding about four times more food.

An award-winning solar designer whose innovative practice spans the fields of sustainability, design and technology, Aubel’s vision is to place Power Plant on city rooftops to sustainably reduce food miles and energy consumption by harvesting both plants and electricity.

By 2050, 2.5 billion people will live in cities. Power Plant offers a sustainable solution for feeding people and reducing further damage to the planet at a time when climate change’s extreme weather is expanding deserts and making fertile land scarcer.

Power Plant brings aesthetics and function to social design with stylish solar panels that are adaptable to different settings.

“Solar energy doesn’t have to be ugly and can be implemented in the most unexpected places,” says Aubel. “Design gives us the ability to imagine a future where efficiency and functionality are on an equal footing with beauty.”

Thumbs up for botanical technology embedded in the urban environment that’s designed to cultivate awareness and contribute to the future of urban farming.

Photos: via Ed Reeve for London Design Biennale; Renderings via Marjan van Aubel and Het Nieuwe Instituut and Marjan van Aubel.

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