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Concept: Aero(and Hydro)ponics for Farming in Arid Regions

by on Aug.03, 2014, under Concepts, Inventions, Musings

Aeroponics is the growing of plants or crops in air, as opposed to soil, or water (such as in hydroponics). It works by suspending crops in a tank containing a nutrient rich solution. This solution is then sprayed onto the crops at regular intervals (In Hydroponics, the crops are actually immersed in the solution).

Both of these systems are far more efficient than soil as a growth medium, but Aeroponics is even more efficient than Hydroponics due to the fact that the crops get the most oxygen delivered to their roots with this method. Aeroponics is, however, more complex, and therefore more expensive to set up than Hydroponics due to the very precise control required over the mechanism used to spray nutrient solution on the crops.

An Aeroponic installation could produce the same yield of crops with just a fraction of the land required to grow them conventionally. In additon, these systems both use very little water, since the nutrient solution and crops are in a closed tank, and the majority of water used is recycled. For Arid regions with little water, poor soil, and/or food shortages, the applications of these systems are huge.

These systems also allow for precise control of the growing conditions. Depending on the composition of the nutrient solution, almost any crop could be grown. This could reduce the dependence of individuals in poorer countries on staple crops, providing both better nutrition, resistance to crop failure, and possibly a boost to local markets and economies.

Aeroponic and Hydroponic systems should be deployed more widely throughout the world to address the issues of food production and shortages. The high initial cost would likely be more than offset by the higher crop yield and reliability of these systems.





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