It all seems very sci-fi: Freshwater culled from melting icebergs is channeled into massive hydroponic greenhouses, which grow all manner of vegetables, fruit, and herbs. But the entire apparatus, which was devised by French architecture students, is propellerless and made to drift with the currents, making it ideal for swinging by coastal towns to deliver its local, pesticide-free picks. Soon, it may be real.
"We had what seemed to us a massive resource on one hand, and a massive lack — no local produce — on the other," Meriem Chabani, one of the designers, tellsFast Company.
Iceberg harvesting is a lemonade-from-lemons approach to melting icebergs. It goes into bottled water and even more boutique applications, like glacial vodka. More importantly, the Arctic Harvester would get Greenlanders much-needed local produce. Arable land comprises about, oh, zero percent of the island.
So now the Arctic Harvester has moved into the fundraising stage. We inquired about what crops might eventually be produced, and about future plans. Mikå Mered, CEO and executive research director of Polarisk Analytics, wrote in response:
The Arctic Harvester has been designed to operate in Western Greenlandic waters so, given that Greenland is the world's 4th largest vegetables importer per capita, the food we see growing inside the Harvester would match Greenland's needs. One may thus consider growing lettuce, leafy greens, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes. They all do grow well in a hydroponic environment. Likewise, fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and even exotic ones like small papayas would also grow well. Going further, the Arctic Harvester's inner space is also conceived to allow for organic fish breeding. Cold-water fish like salmon would be effective, so might be tilapia. Detailed studied will be necessary at this point to determine which fish exactly would be bred in the Arctic Harvester.
Check out more on the project here.