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Floating Ponds: A sustainable vertical farming concept

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Ecology embedded within the farming infrastructure creates a vibrant community space.

Surbana Jurong has developed a vertical farming concept - Floating Ponds - that can be applied to fish, vegetable or other agricultural products. This proposed modular and scalable system comprises vertically stacked fish raceways to maximise production capacity of the available space. As such, farms can be commercially productive even within limited land area, and thus it would help ensure food security in land-scarce countries like Singapore.

According to Surbana Jurong, because the system is modular and scalable, Floating Ponds can be built and function within any urban space available, ranging from parks to unused roof space, as well as community spaces within larger commercial developments.

The system is also designed to be self-sustainable through a closed-loop ecosystem where the exchange and flow of water, nutrients and energy are integrated, explained the company. This means that waste from one unit becomes input for another, reducing wastage and creating by-products of value.

The spatial design and architecture of the farm works towards enabling these exchanges. The farm will also comprise a cold warehouse, processing and packing room, offices and R&D laboratories, integrating all farm processes into a singular facility.

Surbana Jurong said it plans to implement the Floating Ponds concept with its partner in Singapore, Apollo Aquaculture Group (AAG). Apollo has already prototyped a three-storey fish farm using its closed-system water reticulation technology (below).

Fact Sheet Floating Ponds.Compressed 8

The prototype currently holds about 100,000 fish and fry. The Floating Ponds concept can increase this to six storeys or more and potentially yield almost 5,000 t of food-fish per year when in full operation. This is believed to be six times more than conventional fish farm using the same amount of space.

“Surbana Jurong believes that innovative design and technology can play a significant role in agriculture and high-tech farming in land-scare Singapore,’ said Wong Heang Fine, group CEO of Surbana Jurong. “With such a vertical farming concept, Floating Ponds can maximise use of land and help make a small pocket of urban space significantly productive, enhance the surrounding ecology and generate a vibrant community hub with farming activities.”

“The farming sector is vibrant in Singapore, but there are obvious space constraints here. We need to break away from the conventional mould and advocate new ways of farming,” commented Eric Ng, group CEO of Apollo Aquaculture Group.

*More detailed information will be published in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Southeast Asia Construction.