The long term goal is for this humble 1 hectare compound to be a stepping stone to major expansion and kick start a new industry of agriculture in the region, the rest of Africa and beyond. It all starts with a single seed.
The local team, headed up by our rising star Abdihakiim Mohamed Riraash, has taken up the mantel of Seawater Greenhouse Somaliland and begun the horticultural work and daily operations.
This Seawater Greenhouse compound, we hope, is the first of many more to come. It brings about so much potential for change, not just in the country of Somaliland but on a global stage, to provide food, jobs and security.
These evaporator walls are made up of specialised corrugated card pads that become drenched in seawater. The hot dry wind of the local environment comes through these evaporator walls, picks up the rapidly evaporating moisture and enters the greenhouses as water vapour.
The salt meanwhile concentrates on the evaporator walls and drains into waiting tanks beneath the walls, to eventually be turned into sea salt.
The presence of this water vapour inside the Seawater Greenhouses raises the humidity inside to 99% and drops the temperature from 45 degrees to 25 degrees, creating an optimised environment ‘oasis effect’ to grow crops.
After clearing out these final bits, organising them and finding them new homes within the compound, we brought in the salt evaporator trays and prepared the building.
If we desalinate that much seawater, without putting the concentrated brine back in the sea, what do we do with all that sodium chloride salt? Right now, we don’t know, but Salt batteries are a promising new development as is forward osmosis. Sodium chloride is also the feedstock to over 1,400 industries and processes, including most plastics, acids and alkali.
Once the evaporator walls were finished we turned our attention to the Salt Shed. Up until now, it had effectively been used as a storage shed for our final materials and tools.
The whole team then returns to one end of the netting and begins to apply clips as well as tension to the net, along its entire length, until finally the very ends of the netting is anchored into the ground.
The net is then unfolded slowly from one end to the other whilst using special netting clips to temporarily hold the netting in place. These nets are very large, even small gusts of wind can make the netting unmanageable, so these temporary clips are essential.