Matthew Ceder

Thinking Man,

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GREEN TECHNOLOGY + HYDROPONIC FARMING: We can do it right now! Let's go! Pro Hydro!

Save on land space for future generations & feed them by investing in hydroponic farming to grow vegetables & fruit in more quantity & quality. All around healthy produce for the future. This would more than double the rate of food production reducing world hunger by more than 25%. I imagine something like a tower to house the hydroponic farm equipped with solar panels, wind mills and a rain water reservoir on the roof for independent power to help insure the produce are forever growing. Every floor would be treated as a hydroponic crop. That is a lot of growing.

I want these buildings to be just like the ones that are all windows on all sides. Windows that allow sunlight in the tower on every crop and like the ones described by Justin Hall-Tipping. The ceilings on every floor would be tiled with large mirrors with grow lights embedded in the ceiling installed right above and or near every row or unit of growing produce. The floor would require reflective metal tiles. This combination would maximize the gain of real and artificial sunlight on the crops.

Farmers are sure to adopt this new technique as the industry grows and would either sell their lands to move near the cities or use their property for these towers or similar farming structures. We will have a influx of farmland buying & selling. Selling older nonessential land for the population to settle into in the near future. Creating new suburban neighborhoods in rural areas reducing farmland expansion and harsh winters that halt crop harvesting by creating a way to grow all the time with out using too much land. Expanding space for the population. Giving city and rural areas a chance to grow economically in a time the world needs it most.

In time there will be many entrepreneurs & farmers taking advantage of this goldmine around the world with the potential of being the first global gold rush since fossil fuel's! City and rural areas will expand and the world economy will get a appreciatingly welcome boost.

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    Nov 24 2011: Agricultural towers using hydroponics or aeroponics is a great idea, but not a new one. Lots of people are working on this concept. Google "agricultural towers" and select "images" to see dozens of architects' ideas of how this concept can work in or near our cities.

    For such tower agriculture to reach its full potential, crops would need to be bred for the purpose. Depending on the crop, stalks, leaves, flowers, and/or roots that have developed for a plant to grow in an open field would be adjusted to the hydro/aero-ponic environment. Simply setting our ordinary crops in this environment will not give the optimum results. In the end we may wind up with some bioengineered mineral-and-vitamin-stuffed protein mass on the dinner table.

    The great advantages of such farming towers include stability of environment, availability and economy of water, flexibility to adapt to various crops, and closeness to market.

    Hazards include mass infection, sabotage, and other massive failures of the artificial system. Engineered systems are always subject to some probability - hopefully low - of failure, and there would have to be considerable redundancies and safeguards.

    By the way, the notion that good agricultural land is plentiful is a fiction. In the U.S. for example, the overdrawn Ogalalla aquifer that waters much of our farmland is in great danger, and good topsoil is being reduced every year. In California's Central Valley, our most productive agricultural region, the soil is gradually becoming more saline, and much has been taken out of production or changed to other, more salt-tolerant, crops. Water is also at a critical state in California. The problem of farmland is real.
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      Nov 24 2011: Wow, such excellent input Paul.

      I did not know there were already others who thought about this. But of course, there are billions of people. How silly of me to think this idea was unique to just me. I am glad that I am not alone on this notion that we can grow more with such towers.

      I remember when I was a kid hearing about something on the news regarding farmland and agricultural space. I thought why not just build up! They could farm lots more if they had another floor/crop above the other. This is how my idea grew. I have been dreaming of this since I was young.

      I am very excited to see this idea is on its way to fruition. Way to go humanity! 100 points! :D
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    Nov 18 2011: I have given this a lot of thought. It is very doable, but I fear that Monsanto would find a way to spread their patented seeds into the structure because it would be a threat to their profits.
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      Nov 18 2011: Well they will have to make a patent that predates this post ;)

      That would be forgery. Unfortunately you are probably right...

      But hopefully that will not happen and someone with the time and money will see this idea of mine and like it.

      All it takes is for one person to turn this into reality and it will take off like a feeding frenzy! Haha :D
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    Oct 28 2011: But hydroponic tomatoes tase like styrofoam...................
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      Oct 28 2011: I am actually glad you mentioned that, I completely forgot about that. Hydroponic tomatoes do lack in flavor as do other produce when grown with traditional hydroponic kits.

      The reasons why that happens, for example; Tomatoes, is because they are lacking the nutrients in the soil and real sunlight. Tomatoes lack Vitamin C for this reason. To fix and essentially counter this problem in hydroponic farming you have to use nutrient enriched water. Something not even I can get a hold of considering the combination of nutrients would be a custom mix for each type of plant grown. That is a project for the employed Botanists to do. This idea of mine will ultimately bring farming up to speed on technology and prepare to feed a very large future with very tasty fruits and vegetables. :)
  • Nov 8 2011: thanks for share
  • Gio D

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    Nov 8 2011: Do you know how efficient Solar Panels are? If we could fit enough solar panels on the roof of a tower to provide that much power we wouldn't need fossil fuels. Solar Panels can barely power toy cars.

    Second if the tomatoes lack vitamin C why would I eat it? If you forgot we eat food for nutrients such as vitamin C. In order to in rich the water with vitamins we need to get those vitamins from somewhere, like say real food.
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      Nov 8 2011: I have neighbors with solar panels on their roof. Yes I know how efficient they are. Do you? The only problem we face with solar panels today is durability. They are subject to weathering. The technology is there it just is not used in mass quantities because we are addicted to fossil fuels. We don't have to use them. Furthermore I intend to power a tower with much more than solar panels. You missed the part about combined technology of free energy sources.

      As far as the tomato thing goes, you missed the part about nutrient enriched water that would fix the problem most hydroponic farmers face with this technology.

      I hope this clears things up for you. :)
  • Nov 1 2011: Nice...
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    Nov 1 2011: Hydroponics might be good for growing lettuce to feed turtles, but not much else. It's expensive, energy-intensive, nutrient-intensive, taste-reducing and hardly a good investment in real estate.

    Why don't we start by making current agriculture more efficient? Most Sub-Saharan African farmers could triple or quadruple their yields with some basic inputs.

    Next I would invest in creating agricultural robots that can farm precisely in fields.

    It's not like we're having land shortages, so that's not the real problem.
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      Nov 1 2011: Hey Laurens, thank you for your reply and for reading about my idea. I hope it isn't too much to read.

      "It's not like we're having land shortages, so that's not the real problem."

      Interesting point, you are right. We don't have a shortage of land, yet! Right now the world population is at 6,972,169,352 and is predicted to increase by 2 billion in the next 20 years. What about 20 years after that? I am concerned for our future generations and their needs.

      Sure we don't suffer nor have an issue with over population, but we will sooner than later... I find it intriguing you mention Africa, that is a place I was thinking about. However they have lots of land they cannot use the majority of it because of wild life conservation efforts.

      My idea isn't to solely grow hydroponically indoors. It is to run a Hydroponic Farm on Free Energy.
      A system that essentially pays for it's self and powers it's self and with a lush crops and a plethora of green technology these towers could potentially replace Nuclear Power Plants. It would be like a Tree of Life in some ways, producing electricity, food and oxygen on a daily basis.
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    Oct 24 2011: I'm not entirely sure where you get your numbers from, double food production? reduce hunger 25%?

    You state it would "save on land space" then say "cities will expand"

    It's not that easy, the plants still need light. I don't know how feasible a food tower is without artificial light. The cost of the solar and wind power would likely exceed the cost of the tower itself.

    I'm not saying it is impossible, just saying it's not that simple.
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      Oct 25 2011: They have lights that feed sunlight through fiber-optic cables to indoors, this is a perfect application for that technology.
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        Oct 26 2011: Hey Dain;

        This is a cool idea.

        How does it work?

        Can you tell me more about this technology?
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        Nov 18 2011: Awesome, thank you for the link.

        This really would be a perfect application for it.

        Thank you for sharing an excellent idea! :)
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      Oct 25 2011: Well I'm not implying those figures would come from a tower over night, in time there would be more towers. That is where the estimates come from. They are approximate and based on the notion that there are 3 of these towers in every city in the world.

      I have experience growing tomatoes indoors hydroponically with proper grow lights. The tomatoes came out beautiful and larger than any tomato I have ever seen. The same can be done for any plant life really. We could even grow spices and herbs. Farmers are sure to adopt this new technique as the industry grows and would either sell their lands to move near the cities or use their property for these towers or similar farming structures. So we will have a influx of farmland selling and buying. Possibly selling some nonessential older land for the population to settle into in the near future. Creating new suburban neighborhoods in rural areas and expanding space for the population. Reducing farmland space for population expansion. It is kind of like trading spaces but not. Some farmers are sure to stay and that's good for the future populace.

      As far as power for the tower goes, I am pretty sure people owning such a tower would have to get the panels from the local power company. When their power gain exceeds more than what they use, it goes into the local power grid. At the end of every month the owner of the farm will get paid by the local power company for their power, that's if they exceed their own limits and give energy to the city. They could even rig a rain reservoir on the roof to collect water to help reduce the facilities use on the local supply. These farms would want both wind and solar power to ensure consistent energy. The reservoir can be rigged for this also, thus adding water energy to the mix. In my opinion a green friendly hydroponic farm or food tower like described would be very effective & essential for our future society.

      Sorry I wasn't clear at first, I'm new here. Thank you for your questions.
  • Nov 13 2011: Yes I am here, thanks.

    Speak again on how farmland is valuable. Remember, we are in North America, farmland is cheap here. Drive across the prairies here in Alberta and you'll see how much abundance we have.

    The building is energy intensive by how much energy it is going to take to build a tower like that. Contemplate not only the construction of the tower, but also the energy required to make advanced materials like nanotechnology. Large microscopes that look at particles take a lot of energy, especially since they don't have a way to easily replicate and build carbon nanotubes. Vapor deposition take a while.

    And still on my argument, that free energy you speak of is nowhere near enough to power something of this magnitude. Fundamental laws of physics and heat transfer. The building radiates energy and will at an impressive rate when exposed to cold air outside. There's a lot more to that.
  • Nov 8 2011: I'm sorry, but are listening to yourself? This is all just ludicrous.

    First off, the world creates food to feed 11 billion people, just take away the food that every North American gorges on and redistribute it. So that solves the food problem.

    Second, please do not think that this window technology is some big improvement that will come around in 20 years. This is nanotechnology we are talking about. There's a reason this stuff if just research. The energy needed to create technology and build towers like this is enough to say no to it.

    Third, from the sounds of it, these botanists are going to be burned alive on each floor. Mirrored roof and ground? They would be blind after working there for a year. And your worried that they will contaminate the crop? Do you know that your mushrooms are made it fecal matter? Did you know your supposed to wash your mushrooms to remove the rest of it before you cook them? Did you know that all the white garlic we use (pretty much all of our garlic used) is grown in china with fecal matter again. Do you know that strawberries are radiated twice before they cross the US/Canada border? Do you understand the actual energy required to do this is huge! Learn something about heat transfer. Heat radiates outwards with colder temperatures, regardless of anything else. You don't need this tower in tropical places to create exotic foods. However you need this 'tower' to create tropical food in places like Canada where the temp goes to -50 degrees C. Your tower will not produce energy and will suck the life off the grid to create food. That's how cops catch grow ops, because they take too much power off the grid.

    Not only that, it won't rain for 8 months of the year, and the energy to melt the snow up top the tower for water would be enough to cause you to take energy off the grid.

    Just have people grow food in their natural backyards where it was meant to be grown, then you don't make this mistake of a tower.
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      Nov 8 2011: Ludicrous? Really? Haha I am flattered. They say that to most anyone who dares to think big.

      1. The majority of American food is very unhealthy, I wouldn't want to feed that to anyone.

      2. Too much energy to build? What? That didn't stop anyone one else from building the large cities we know now... Also I merely threw Justin Hall-Tipping's idea out there as a future upgrade to the system. I did not imply that could be done now.

      3. Each floor regardless of time of day would be a controlled environment depending on what is being grown, essentially the temperature. The only rooms allowed to be hot are the ones growing tropic fruits and such. Yes I know not ALL produce can be strictly grown hydroponically. That doesn't mean we can't give it a enriched environment to grow in with even more nutrients it doesn't normally get and a simulated habitat of its natural environment. What was that about cops? I don't even see how that relates to this.

      4. Water as I said would be recycled through the building. This would actually last long enough for seasonal rains. As far as snow that wouldn't be a problem at all, they would just shovel it in the reservoir, which works much like a large laundry shaft. The reservoir would not be directly on the roof. It would be mostly covered and concealed with latched doors to seal it if needed. That doesn't seem very energy costly to me.

      5. Though I do agree more people should grow in their yards if they are privileged enough to have it. But you cannot force them to grow their own. A lot of people said they were making a mistake by sailing to sea to explore and find out if the world was round or flat and everyone told them they would fall off the edge of the Earth, that they were ludicrous...
      • Nov 8 2011: All I can say is that you have to be something other then an engineer.

        Towers were built because land was valuable. Farmers land is not valuable. In order for the land to be valuable, someone must pay the cost of it. Fields that grow food do not produce a lot of money. Towers that grow food produce even less money. It costs more to grow food in a tower than on an open field.

        Also, the technology you speak of would make the building 10 times more costly than building a regular office tower. You must not be a business student either.
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          Nov 10 2011: I said they would mostly build these near cities, that land is valuable. Don't forget that farm land is also very valuable. I suppose you didn't read my entire article. It shows in your criticism.

          How is it that the building I speak of is energy costly when it has multiple sources of free energy? You throw your arguments around like insults and offer no structure for your conclusions.

          Furthermore I would like to welcome you to the community. You must be new here.
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    Nov 1 2011:

    Happy Samhain!

    I want to point out that with my proposed idea to utilize city space & green technology combined with infrastructure would make every day a day of harvest.

    Food for thought! ;)
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    Oct 28 2011: Continued: 2nd; Following up on my last post, I want to talk about Botany & Science. In the future when these food towers are implemented there is going to be a need for variety of taste and texture. These towers will have laboratories for their Botanists to study plant life and vegetation extensively looking for ways to make new food by altering plants to produce different types of new seeds. Anything is possible with science and with the proper gear and laboratory I am confident that this facility would not only prosper in producing food and energy. It has potential to give botanists a new opportunity to discover new things about plant life to. I remember seeing a scifi movie once with a nacho flavored banana in it. I remember thinking to myself "I bet that's going to happen one day, freaking nacho flavored bananas!" and today I couldn't be far from being right. Today we have botanists growing trees with "glow in the dark" leaves with the goal to one day replace street lights with them. If that is possible than so are nacho flavored bananas. We just haven't tried it yet.

    Food towers that produce vegetation on a constant non stop production basis would have a opportunity to harness another free source of energy right there in their own gardens. Oxygen! Also known as air, this invisible gas is likely to fill the entire building after just six months of production. This is clean oxygen produced by plants right there in the tower. Oxygen fresh and clean enough to contain and use for our employees and building. Creating a very healthy work environment in and outside the crops. With luck the facilities will produce enough air to give some back to the community.

    With large enough food towers utilizing all of the mentioned sources of free energy they could power a city in formation! They can drastically increase food production in one year more than you would using land. Expanding neighborhoods in rural areas where farmers start selling property for one of these towers.
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    Oct 26 2011: Continued: The tower will have a system unique only to food towers. It will utilize the tower's water system. This system will work like a unique plumping network that transfers the harvest from crops to the bottom of the tower for processing. Employees will take produce and put it in a device that inserts the produce into the special waterway which takes the produce in the water all the way down to the bottom of the tower for clean & safe sorting. The pumps would then take the water up to the top of the tower and generally flow through out the whole tower in a series of veins so to speak. It gives the food tower energy & life to consume & create life as long as the tower's systems are monitored & controlled equally.

    Also they will have a network of air pumped tubes for sending items like the ones used in Banks or price clubs. It would solely be for the paper work required from employees that might attach other items such as specimens and samples. It will have a few different types of elevators for various tasks. It will be automatic, nothing you haven't seen before at a Mega-Mart, but utilized more efficiently through out the entire tower. Automatic opening & closing doors. On & off lighting when entering and leaving rooms except for the farming areas where the food grows. Those lights will always be on, even during the day in crops that require a hot & humid environment.

    Considering their potential to one day be main centers of food production; They could become targets for terrorist attacks and would require the best security with the best technology available. When the world has many of these towers in cities they could potentially become targets of war. Foreign invaders might see it as a means to weaken their enemy. This would tighten airspace security in the areas effected and would help prevent planes from flying close to the city the tower resides in before warned. This would be a welcome change in city areas of the world after the era of 911 Emergencies.
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    Oct 25 2011: The floors in this tower would be named Crops. Instead of X amount of floors it would have X amount of crops. ie; Instead of saying "I am going to floor 44?" you will say something like "You have to go to Crop 44 and fix Pump 11 again". All Crops will need drains in the floor and would serve as a way to collect & reuse used water. Some crops will use more water than others. Rain & water received through the drains in the crops & roof would be filtered & sterilized. The water would be run through hydroponic engines to create more energy for the tower. The engine is a high tech waterwheel for use in hydroponic farming & the tower's special plumbing system. The hydroponic engines would be intertwined with the towers plumbing being utilized for free energy while moving water through the tower for it's essential needs. The system is able to give & receive water from the local water supply if ever needed In case of limited to no rain & long rainy days. Just like when the tower exceeds it's power requirement and gives energy to the local grid. The hydroponic engine will work based on a pump applying pressure through a pipeline that flows into and spirals around aligned rows of about 5 waterwheels. Each wheel would have a wall in between each row that separates the flowing water from each row causing the pressure to snow ball. All the water would be forced through the 1st wheel before being pushed into openings that veer into the next row flowing through the 5 rows and around the wheels under intense pressure housed in a metal casing like a car engine. Pressure on the waterwheels makes them spin. The faster they spin the faster the engine makes free energy and pumps water out the other end for reuse. It can run it's self & computers close by to insure those key tools stay up & running. With this water system the tower is capable of putting it's own fires out. Buildings can't burn up with a water reservoir on the roof.

    I'm running out of space again. I'll continue later....
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    Oct 25 2011: Because the website does not let me write as much as I want, I will add more through comments. First I want to say that I am happy to answer any questions you have and thank you for reading. I am throwing this idea out there because I hope that by doing so it will encourage and inspire others in thinking of ways to help perfect the future. I am interested in working & collaborating with anyone with similar interests. Can you think of anything to improve my idea?

    When I say towers I am saying sky scrapers. These towers should preferably be among the tallest in the world. Not just for optimum exposure to the sun, but wind and rain as well. They should also be as wide as possible for maximum harvesting. This building would have a first floor grocery store for the local populace as well as a means to ship and deliver produce nation wide. A under ground parking garage with eco friendly additions for hybrids and other means of charging your vehicles battery with free power. Including a air pump for tires, free air. These things will be free because the energy it takes to run it is free, and the tower would still have extra energy to give to the local grid.

    Tower employees will be suited with a white body suit kind of like scrubs surgeons and nurses wear. This color reflects the most light and I think is essential for reflecting daylight brought in through the windows as well as being optimal for keeping employees cool around hot lamps. They would carry their own oxygen tanks at all times when cultivating the crops because we don't want any chance of someone coughing or sneezing on the produce on accident or inhaling allergens. Not to mention there will be a lot of moisture in the air with nutrients. Air in these crops cant be contaminated. Some might have a high concentration of mist to resemble a tropical environment. Cleanliness will also be of the most important and required thing for all employees. You have to guarantee people this food is good, clean and healthy.