Greening of the desert a possibility
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.”