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From the Guardian????

Today we bring you something straight out of a science fiction novel: Scientists have found a way to produce nearly unlimited amounts of food in the desert, fueled by desalinated salt water and sunlight. It sounds like a pipe dream, but it’s not—it’s already happening in Australia and Qatar, and may soon spread further if these early trials deliver on their initial promise.

The Guardian explains how the system works:

Indeed, the work that Sundrop Farms, as they call themselves, are doing in South Australia, and just starting up in Qatar, is beyond the experimental stage. They appear to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat – using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.

So far, the company has grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by the tonne, but the same, proven technology is now almost ready to be extended to magic out, as if from thin air, unlimited quantities of many more crops – and even protein foods such as fish and chicken – but still using no fresh water and close to zero fossil fuels. Salty seawater, it hardly needs explaining, is free in every way and abundant – rather too abundant these days, as our ice caps melt away. . .

A 75m line of motorised parabolic mirrors that follow the sun all day focuses its heat on a pipe containing a sealed-in supply of oil. The hot oil in turn heats nearby tanks of seawater pumped up from a few metres below ground – the shore is only 100m away. The oil brings the seawater up to 160C and steam from this drives turbines providing electricity. Some of the hot water from the process heats the greenhouse through the cold desert nights, while the rest is fed into a desalination plant that produces the 10,000 litres of fresh water a day needed to keep the plants happy. The water the grower gets is pure and ready for the perfect mix of nutrients to be added. The air in the greenhouse is kept humid and cool by trickling water over a wall of honeycombed cardboard evaporative pads through which air is driven by wind and fans. The system is hi-tech all the way; the greenhouse is in a remote spot, but the grower, a hyper-enthusiastic 27-year-old Canadian, Dave Pratt, can rather delightfully control all the growing conditions for his tonnes of crops from an iPhone app if he’s out on the town – or even home in Ontario.

It’s the kind of thing an enlightened futurologist might have imagined for the 21st century, and to enter Sundrop’s greenhouse from the desert outside, passing the array of sun-tracking solar parabolic mirrors that looks like something from a film set, is to feel you’ve arrived at a template for tomorrow-world. The warm, humid air laden with the scent of ripening tomatoes is in such contrast to the harsh landscape outside, where it tops a parched 40C for much of the year, that it feels as if the more brutal sides of both nature and economics are being benignly cheated.

The technology involved is impressive, but this is more than a feat of engineering—it could save lives. If these farms can be replicated on a large scale, food may become cheaper for billions of people, and it will be less susceptible to the supply shocks and price spikes at the heart of many current food shortages. There’s something here for the greens as well: Bringing agriculture to much of today’s waste land should more than make up for the farmland lost if green predictions of rising sea levels prove to be true.

Morons from the sustainability brigade will need to think again.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:14 PM | Registered CommenterDung


It is possible to produce a picture like that in the camera without changing it on a computer. With the sun behind the steam the side of the steam nearest the photographer is in shade. With the right settings in the camera it can be made to appear very dark.(The chimney is also very dark as this side is also in the shade) If the photographer had been stood on the sun side of the steam it might have looked like the image used here with the steam brightly lit by the sun.

If they want a picture of black smoke they should go to a tractor pulling contest.

Nov 25, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Scotland seems to be talking the talk rather than walking the walk when it comes to tackling climate change:

Revealed: how Scotland will break the law and its own climate promises

Nov 25, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Good to see that the Bishop now has 2 x 5 star reviews for HTD on Nothing yet on

Nov 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

More from the Spectator on the derating of turbines to get more income from the FiT scheme for producing less electricity. See

No wonder we have increasing fuel poverty when the Government allows this scam to continue and yet has known of its existence for some time. Corrupt wind developers just continue to cash in on the scam.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Ed Davey trying to stifle John Hayes. The row continues. Let's hope the uncertainty kills investment in wind.

Nov 24, 2012 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The BBC lied to their own people, as well as the public!

"The BBC’s editorial policy on climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its pretence that climate change dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.

Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.

Nov 24, 2012 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Has anyone had an update on the Met Office progress in re-examining 160 years of global temperature records following the 'climategate' scandal. Three years is such a long time to wait.

Nov 24, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The Telegraph website has a headline reading " UK to sign up to Kyoto 2"

The sub heading reads " UK businesses will struggle to compete with those from the US and China if Britain signs up to a new climate change treaty in Doha next week, industry warns "

Are subeditors instructed to write headlines which give a different impression than the rest of the article does? It's Louise Gray again, so perhaps I should be resigned to it by now, and guess what the picture is- yet another chimney which appears to be belching photoshopped black steam.

Nov 24, 2012 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

From Bloomberg Business Week "U.K. Clean Energy Costs to Triple by 2020 in Power Bills"

"Energy Secretary Ed Davey will allow utilities to triple the renewable energy levy that comes through in household and business power bills to 7.6 billion pounds ($12 billion) by 2020, according to a spokesman at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The change will come in legislation Parliament will consider once the details are published on Nov. 29. "

The entire article is at:

Nov 24, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRayG

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