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Growing tomatoes in the Australian desert

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Growing tomatoes in the Australian desert

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Growing vegetables in the desert.

Growing vegetables in the desert.

This unique indoor farm in South Australia produces 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year – accounting for approximately 15% of the country’s entire tomato market.

Danish renewable energy specialist, Aalborg CSP, has developed a customized energy system based on concentrated solar power technology – the first in the world to supply multiple energy streams for heating, electricity and desalinated water.

“The project has drawn enormous interest in green projects that can answer local energy needs, for example for greenhouses,” says Aalborg CSP CEO, Svante Bundgaard.

The company’s Integrated Energy System harnesses the sun to satisfy multiple energy demands. According to Jacob Juul, Project and Engineering Director at Aalborg CSP: “Traditionally, solar based energy solutions either create electricity or heat. Our solar-cell facility in Australia delivers multiple energy solutions for greenhouses.”

Computer-controlled mirrors collect the sun’s rays and reflect them onto a high solar tower. The concentration of energy generates high temperatures which are then used to heat the greenhouses in wintertime, provide fresh water by desalinating seawater and periodically run a turbine to produce electricity.

While it might be a solution particularly fit for areas with little access to water or energy, more studies are needed to evaluate its impact on the natural environment and how to bring down the facility’s high building cost.