Green­ing of the desert a pos­si­bil­ity

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY -

GREEN­HOUSES pow­ered by nan­otech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped in Western Aus­tralia could turn the dri­est of deserts into pro­duc­tive agri­cul­tural land thanks to a $1.6-mil­lion grant from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre.

The grant will be used to build a 300sqm green­house us­ing trans­par­ent glass that can gen­er­ate 50 watts of power per square me­tre of sur­face area. The so­lar-glass also al­lows 70% of vis­i­ble light to pass through while block­ing 90% of so­lar UV and IR ra­di­a­tion. This so­lar-glass, de­vel­oped by ECU’s Elec­tron Sci­ence Re­search In­sti­tute (ESRI) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ClearVue Tech­nolo­gies, will pro­vide enough power to run heat­ing or cool­ing for the green­house, as well as de­sali­na­tion to pro­vide wa­ter. ESRI di­rec­tor pro­fes­sor Ka­mal Alameh said the so­lar-glass could be tai­lored to pro­duce the per­fect grow­ing con­di­tions.

“Be­ing able to se­lec­tively con­trol light ra­di­a­tion, thus max­imis­ing the crop yield, while pro­duc­ing and stor­ing elec­tric­ity for wa­ter de­sali­na­tion, ir­ri­ga­tion, heat­ing and air-con­di­tion­ing, will en­able green­houses to op­er­ate. This is par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant for parts of the world that are too hot and dry.”

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