In a world where resources are increasingly scarce, how will we produce the food we need, where will we get fresh water and where to find new areas for cultivation? A multidisciplinary team of architects and botanists offers a revolutionary answer to these questions. Jellyfish Barge is a floating agricultural greenhouse producing food without consuming land, fresh water or energy. It has been conceived for communities vulnerable to water and food scarcity and it is built with simple technologies and with low cost and recycled materials.
Designed by the architects Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto, Jellyfish Barge is a modular greenhouse mounted on a floating base, able to guarantee water and food security without impacting on existing resources. The structure consists of a wooden base of about 70 sqm, floating on 96 recycled plastic drums, held together by wooden reticular beams running along the perimeter and the radiuses of the octagon. The drums are screwed on the upper deck supporting the structure of the greenhouse and of the solar desalination units.
Fresh water is provided by 7 solar stills arranged along the perimeter, designed by the environmental scientist Paolo Franceschetti. They can produce up to 150 liters/day of clean fresh water from salt, brackish or polluted water. Solar distillation is a natural phenomenon: in the seas, the sun’s energy evaporates water, which then falls as rain water. In Jellyfish Barge the solar desalination system replicates this phenomenon in small-scale, sucking moist air and forcing it to condense into drums in contact with the cold surface of the sea. The low energy required to power fans and pumps is provided by photovoltaic panels integrated in the structure.
The greenhouse incorporates an innovative hydroponic system. Hydroponics is a crop production technique using 70 % less water compared to traditional cultivation, thanks to the continuous re-use of water. In addition Jellyfish Barge uses about 15% of seawater, which is mixed with distilled water, ensuring even greater water efficiency. The system has an innovative automated system with remote monitoring and control.
Jellyfish Barge is innovative in its ability to respond effectively with limited resources. For this reason it has been designed relatively small in size, capable of supporting about two families, thus easy to be build even in conditions of economic constrains. However, it is modular, so a single element is completely autonomous, while various flanked barges can guarantee food security for the whole community. The octagonal shape of the platform allows combining different modules by connecting them with square floating bases, which may become markets and meeting places of a small water community.
JellyfishBarge is a project by Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto, founders of Studiomobile, developed by a multidisciplinary team coordinated by prof. Stefano Mancuso of the University of Florence and director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology (LINV).
all images © MATTEO DE MAYDA