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The AgriPOD Project:

Low Tech - Low Cost

This project essentially started out as a practical solution to providing a year round warm growing environment for vertical farming, especially aquaponics growing in cold climates. agriPOD represents a demonstration of how low tech, low cost solutions can be found to produce a building that uses cutting-edge sustainable building technology. The whole project budget now stands at around $30K, which is little more than a conventional climate-controlled new single-skin polytunnel would cost with this production area. Keeping to this budget however, has meant being very resourceful, using contributed materials and resources (including volunteer labour and expertise) and investing a lot of time in collaboration with the global PODpioneer community.

Dynamic Working Liquid Processes

The agriPOD essentially comprises of a enveloping transparent cavity in which a single liquid component is employed in different ways to regulate the building interior temperature and humidity. The Liquid can be introduced into the cavity as bubbles producing insulation or shade as required. The same liquid can be carried in the cavities as a thin laminar film, where it acts to transport thermal energy from the building interior to where it can be stored in a ‘warm liquid thermal-mass’ or dissipated into a ‘cool liquid thermal-mass’.

Controlling the Temperature of the Actual Building Structure
Providing a cool surface within the building by using the a liquid film and heat-sink, humidity can be regulated and condensation collected as a supply of clean water. Generating bubble insulation from liquid warmed by the liquid thermal mass produces warm insulation which is the building mechanism for slowly releasing accumulated heat back into the interior environment when required.

Living plants are an integral part of the working SolaRoof mechanism for cooling and solar energy collection. Some of the same processes that regulate the surface temperature of our planet are functioning within the agriPODThe extremely polarised temperatures felt in the desert is due in part to the lack of vegetation. Plants over millions of years has evolved highly efficient ways of regulating their tissue temperature by harnessing the properties of its surrounding atmosphere. Nearly all plants maintain foliage temperature at around 22 – 24 degrees Celsius even in the hottest climates. It is harnessing these biomechanical processes which enables SolaRoof systems to cool buildings at efficiency levels far greater than conventional air-conditioning methods.

In a fully realised SolaRoof system there is another level of plant life that can be harvested to produce bio fuels. By enriching a cavity with CO2, liquid cooling films become a perfect medium in which to cultivate algae which can be harvested for its oil or as feed for young fish and krill. It is possible to produce super food of high value in any climate with no fossil energy and no carbon footprint!