A new underwater greenhouse could reveal the future of agriculture : Aquaculture

FEATURED READING: : HOW TO restore the lost cycle in an established tank

I can save you a click: It’s an uncritical fluff piece (i.e., advertisement) for some startup/rich person hobby horse.

The whole concept is stupid on all levels, even those that seem to make sense when one first hears/reads them. Three seconds of thinking on any point made results in “wouldn’t that be easier or as easy on land?” or “this doesn’t make sense”. Grown up on a farm and an engineer myself, I may have a deeper insight that somebody without the training/experience may not have, but it strikes me as really basic stuff:

  • Temperature control -> easier to do with shading/airing/heating.

  • CO2 absorption -> That makes no sense at all. The problem in normal greenhouses is that heating with gas burners creates a lot of CO2, for which a too high concentration leads to unwanted growth behavior. Unless they mean that the water oozes CO2 into the bubble, thus stabilizing the CO2 concentration. But that is not what they wrote.

  • Natural pest control -> It’s a (partially) closed ecosystem. You can build that on land, easier. Also: importing plants need to be free from pests, because using pesticides in a closed ecosystem can be difficult.

  • Watering with condensation water -> Possible, but this only works where the water is warm enough and the sun strong enough. The placement options of those domes are really limited.

A few seconds of more thinking leads to consider all the problems this project has.

A few that came to mind instantly:

  • Waves. The domes are really close to the surface, so water currents will affect them. Either it needs to be protected by wave breakers, in a naturally protected location, or really sturdy. No mention.

  • Corrosion. Salt water is a hated substance that will basically corrode many common building materials, especially concrete (unless it is really special concrete) and steel (most metals, really).

  • Fungi. The high humidity and warmth is the perfect environment for fungi. For example Mildew, if introduced, would spread like wildfire.

  • What are they doing for fertilization? They would need to introduce fertilizer, increasing the incredibly expensive maintenance effort. Runoff fertilizer would leech into the ocean, which is a problem.

Underwater farming is way more efficient with plants/animals that are actually aquatic, like kelp and clams. This is the type of uncritical fluff piece that is indistinguishable from advertisement. An absolute disgrace for science journalism (and journalism in general).

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