Sky Farms

Sky farms – The new Green farm?

Sky farms are quite literally multilevel agricultural farms, much like
skyscrapers. These sky farms are springing up all over the world, and the
economics of sky farming are already showing positive results. Sky farming
is basically a form of hydroponic farming. It includes significant potential for
organic farming, and major improvements in water usage efficiency. Sky farms
to involve some logistics and infrastructure, notably provision of in-house water
management systems and electrical services, but these are actually far more
economic than traditional agricultural systems.

Sky farm basics

Sky farms are essentially high-rise buildings. They’re designed to achieve
maximum efficiency in the growth and harvesting of agricultural products of all
kinds.  They’ve already shown significant potential for commercial production.
Many growers are particularly interested in the fact that sky farms also provide
enclosed spaces, which naturally provide significant protection against the
elements, weeds, droughts and insect and fungal pests.

Sky farms and agricultural issues

Because sky farms provide a lot of vertical and cubic space, they can overcome
the limitations of the “two-dimensional” traditional farming environment. It’s
possible that the sky farms may be the solution to the increasing problems
of conflicting land use where urban land is displacing agricultural land and
agricultural land is destroying natural habitat and ecology.

The appalling condition of rural land around the world is a major issue
currently being raised at government and international levels regarding the
sustainability of future food production. Sky farms have the potential to
completely eliminate this problem. Theoretically they can grow more food in
far less space than traditional farming.

The economics of traditional rural land use can also be drastically improved by
sky farming. The fact is that it takes extraordinary amounts of water and soil to
produce basic agricultural products. That situation is definitely not sustainable,
and far more efficient means of food production are desperately required.

Because of the quasi-hydroponic nature of sky farming, water usage can be
improved by up to 200%. Soil degradation can be drastically decreased, due to
the fact that sky farm plants use significantly less soil in their growth media.

Organic growers concerned about the possibility of contamination and cross
pollination of their crops with genetically modified organisms have also
expressed interest in sky farms, which provide enclosed growing habitats for
their products. Sky farming could in fact be a particularly useful method of
ensuring agricultural and botanic genetic lines.

The future of sky farming

The big winners in sky farming will be farmers, consumers and the
environment. Sky farms have so far shown themselves to be very easy to
manage, logistically simpler to operate in terms of crop management, and to
have the potential for significant flexibility in choice of commercial crops.

It may be strange for a while for farmers when they realize that instead
of using a backhoe they’ll have to call an electrician, but the cost savings
and peace of mind may be the greatest breakthrough for farmers since the
Agricultural Revolution.

Sky farming is a very much more efficient, profitable approach to a serious
food supply situation which traditional commercial farming has so far shown
itself to be completely unable to address.

Calpine

geothermal geysers

The best  and most plentiful source of power on this planet is geological activity.  I have mentioned this belief before particularly when talking about what exactly the oil companies will do when the oil runs out.

I have recently become a resident of the State of California so instead of trying to cover national companies, I will focus on companies in the Southwest in addition to ones in New England.

This corporation has a longish history of natural gas plants in Wisconsin and the Southwest and has a truly sustainable geothermal plant in Northern California. It is estimated that the development meets 60 percent of the power demand for the coastal region between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon state line.[1]

The Geysers, a geothermal power field located 72 miles (116 km) north of San Francisco, California, is the largest geothermal development in the world. . The Geysers consists of 22 separate power plants that utilize steam from more than 350 producing wells. The Calpine Corporation operates and owns 19 of the 22 facilities. The other three facilities are operated by the Northern California Power Agency and the Western GeoPower Corporation.

It is currently outputting over 750 MW

And I have a great history of the company from someone who knows them well, both from a financial and personal perspective:

Calpine had a hard time of it
because of the nature of the energy business and its proximity to National
Security.  When Enron was overbought and tried to characterize loan
payments to various off-the-books entities such as Chewco and Raptor
(Raptor was also the name of a state of the art jet program at the Defense
Department) as revenue, their competitive entities, the oil companies,
banks, insurers and the U.S. Government, did it in with the Enron Task
Force (ETF is also the acronym for Electronically Traded Funds)–because,
as the saying goes–the public must diversify!).  Anyway, the spill-off
from Enron, 911 and the NYSE shut down by Grasso et al., didn’t help
Calpine to say the least.  Their funding was cut off and Buffett (yes
Warren) demanded pipeline companies carry more insurance coverage due to
the terrorist threat.   It took six years to bankrupt Calpine and in late
2007 they filed Chapter 11.  They emerged from bankruptcy with a five
billion dollar loan in 2008.  They have various properties generating
geo-thermal power and build gas-fired power plants internationally.
Calpine has several “bases” headquarter loci, among them San Jose
California and Houston Texas and have a large Canadian real estate
portfolio including natural gas related interests.

-John

calpine geothermal

Recycling Computers in India

What happens to your E-Waste?

…all kinds of wrong here

Tidal Power barrages and ebb generation

marine_tech_018

It’s such a simple concept I wonder why it’s not a “popular” idea for alternative energy.

Exploit the difference in potential energy between high tide and low tide.  Dig a ditch or basin into a beach or cliff and then make a dam with flood gates and put some turbines where they will be turned by releasing the trapped water.

The main advantages of this kind of tidal power vs the more popular idea of turbines trapping underwater currents are environmental. When we look at the design of these windmills under the sea, they are very similar to food processors in that any wildlife coming close will be chopped into slurry.  Not to mention the fact that they would only capture a small fraction of the tidal power compared to a tidal barrage.

It is important to distinguish between tidal barrages created on rivers or estuaries and totally man made barrages.  The former types of barrages have the same kind of environmental problems because they interfere with extablished marine ecosystems.  Creating a new inlet would allow for a screen-like divider that would exclude animals that could be harmed by the turbines or other mechanisms.

The potential is almost unlimited for countries like the united states due to our extremely large coastlines.  The construction of these barrages would also creates lots of jobs a la the Obama plan for saving the economy. 

In the coming years we will have to make important decisions about which technologies we chose to implement for a sustainable future.  If we choose without full disclosure as to the dangers and benefits of each technology, the results could be disastrous.  If we were to make huge investments into bio-fuels instead of more truly sustainable technologies, at some point we will have food and water supply problems.  I understand the appeal of bio-fuels because they use already existing technologies and thus can be immediately implemented.  I also understand the desire for a quick fix but long term thinking is the only way we will survive peacefully into the next century, after oil has run out.

Radiation from the sun, Gravitational pull from the moon (ocean Power), Geothermal from plate tectonics and volcanic activity, and wind power are the areas we should be putting massive investment into.  Other technologies may serve as a fine transition between fossil fuels and true sustainability but we must plan for the long term using inexhaustible sources of energy.

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