Project by: Marjan van Aubel
Designed with: Architect Emma Elston and researcher Yasmine Ostendorf
Challenge: How can we maximise the energy of the sun to power food growing and eliminate food miles in urban environments?
Project description: Advances in agricultural technologies build efficiency, but require a lot of energy; but did you know that every hour we receive enough sunlight, the vital, life-giving ingredient for plant growth, to provide the world with sufficient electricity for an entire year?
Power Plant is a self-powered hydroponic rooftop greenhouse, designed to be installed on residential or commercial rooftops to capitalise on the free energy of the sun and to provide insulation for the building below. Constructed from solar glass panels (Physee.eu) that generate enough energy to optimise growth conditions, the wedge-shaped transparent structure maintains an indoor climate and powers an integrated hydroponic system, including plant-friendly LEDs, addressing both energy and food miles issues. The hydroponic growing system pumps nutrient-enriched water round the system, reducing water usage by up to 90 per cent compared to traditional soil farming and uses automated farming techniques to cultivate and maintain the plants.
Power Plant greenhouses could also be installed in places without access to electricity, creating new shared community spaces and enabling people to grow food in places where this was previously impossible.
Project phase: Design
Location: Concept presented at the London Design Biennale 2018