It's not a fata morgana that you see when staring at the al Kaheef desert in the United Arab Emirates - it's a real greenhouse that is realised there. The 5 hectare facility of Themar Al Emarat was erected last year. Thanks to the modern techniques and a new technology developed by New Growing System (NGS) even in these harsh circumstances vegetables can be grown hydroponically.
The recently inaugurated 5 hectare Themar facility was built by the Spanish company New Growing System (NGS). This state of the art facility is producing lettuce and tomatoes in the heart of the UAE desert.
In order to make it possible to grow in these circumstances, NGS developed a technology especially for extreme climates. This is based on their NGS recirculation polyethene gutters, that are being used globally to grow horticultural crops hydroponically, completely without soil. This technique is designed with a focus on economic viability production parameters and high-volume commercial production scale.
The new, extended system for extreme climates is based on this proven technique. Thanks to new innovations, the team made it possible to cool the growing facility without using water. "Thanks to that this project is a milestone in terms of efficiency of water", Donald Gartland with NGS says.
The cooling can be done thanks to the 5.94 MW off-grid microgrid that the facility is equipped with. The off-grid microgrid combines solar photovoltaics and diesel generation, battery energy storage, electrical gear and electronics with real-time microgrid management and controls to power the greenhouse operation.
The NGS achievements have been recognized by reputable institutions such as the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), who have signed a collaboration agreement with NGS. "Thanks to all of this and just 30 minutes from Dubai, this hydroponic farm factory will produce different vegetable varieties al year around."
He points out the versatility of the production. "Exclusive products such as baby leaf are currently being brought in by air shipments. This will now be the first automated and high-density cultivation unit in the Middle East. With this NGS technological project, food self-sufficiency in the United Arab Emirates will be significantly improved, while water reserves are controlled, achieving true sustainable production."
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