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Jacob Chambers

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Retrofitting greenhouses to make them more viable for desert agricultural production

From his talk I derived that the flexible PV material, that is soon to come out on the market, could be implemented in greenhouse designs possibly with great effect. I am proposing replacing standard glass used for the flexible PV material in a traditional hoop style/ semicircle. The ability to collect the energy from the sun could be used to power LED lighting systems that would provide the spectrum of light necessary to each specific crop. Drawing upon his ambient temperature idea I would like to also postulate that using a system of pipes run underneath the greenhouses would be capable of creating ambient temperatures suitable to crops. In colder deserts would it be possible to tap geo-thermal energy and use the same pipes that cools the greenhouses to also heat them? I viewed an interesting TED talk that discussed greenhouses that captured ocean mists for cooling and water with great effect and believe that their design could be implemented with the PV and ambient temperature designs. Thoughts and comments are greatly appreciate and most important thank you for your time.

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  • Jul 12 2012: There are presently production greenhouses that recycle their water so once you obtained enough water for your crops the excess can be recycled and you just need make up water. PV could be used to power cooling pads and fans also a production technique to cool greenhouses. As for the heating with pipes there are greenhouses in production that are using waste power plant heat using underground pipes from the cooling tower. Heating cost in PA is cost of power to run pumps. With a PV system and a heat sink you could operate a greenhouse for very little. I think we could build greenhouse ranges near any or all power plants and make incredible use of the waste heat, provide jobs, food and flowers.
    • Jul 20 2012: Do you happen to have any links or other info on these technologies? Very interesting and I would love to read more about them. Thanks for the input on the discussion.

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