x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Farming water from air, power from sun

A programme launched yesterday in Abu Dhabi will help farmers save water and energy.

ABU DHABI // Farmers will soon be able to save energy, water and money with a new green-technology programme.

G-Earth will provide water for greenhouses by extracting it from the air and use solar energy for electricity.

The scheme will be operated by the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre (FSC) and Anexo Emirates, the local division of a Swiss consultancy specialising in technology transfer.

"It's vital for farmers to learn about this technology because it includes environmental and cost benefits," said Christopher Hirst, the chief executive of the FSC.

"In an effort to achieve sustainable agriculture in Abu Dhabi, water used in the greenhouses of local farms will be obtained by condensation from the humidity in the air."

The programme will help farms with hydroponic systems, where plants are grown in water and mineral-nutrient solutions rather than soil, to become less dependent on power grids and expensive water supplies.

"Our farmers will be able to grow rich crops with zero impact on water and energy resources," said Aldo Garbagnati, the chief executive of Anexo Emirates.

The programme is scheduled to run for 12 months and a model farm demonstrating the technology to farmers will open in Al Gharbia in six months, officials said.

"Farmers will be able to learn how to use it and see its benefits and costs before applying it to their own farms, should they choose to," Mr Hirst said.