Jellyfish Barge, a floating greenhouse farm producing food without consuming land, freshwater

Jellyfish Barge, a floating greenhouse farm producing food without consuming land, freshwater it has been modified: 2014-11-17 di jessica zannori

In a world where resources are increasingly scarce, as will be produced the food that communities need, where we promise to find the water needed and where to find new areas for the cultivation?

A multidisciplinary team of architects and botanists proposes a revolutionary answer to these questions. Jellyfish Barge is an agricultural greenhouse float which produces food without consuming soil, fresh water and energy.

Thought for communities vulnerable to the scarcity of water and food, the structure is built with simple technologies and recycled materials and low cost.

Jellyfish Barge is a multidisciplinary project coordinated by Professor Stefano Mancuso of the University of Florence, director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology (LINV; And designed by architects Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto (Studiomobile;
The working prototype, made from LINV (University of Florence), thanks to the contribution of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and the Tuscany region is installed from October 2014, in the channel Navicelli, between Pisa and Livorno.


Designed by Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto, founders Studiomobile, Jellyfish Barge is a greenhouse built on modular floating platform able to provide water and food security by providing food and water without impacting on existing resources.
Appropriate strategies to provide access to food and water in large part depend on the cultural, social and economic conditions of communities.

The solutions that have more chances of success in the long term are those able to adapt to different situations and to the different needs in different areas. Therefore, JFB was conceived as a flexible structure that uses construction technology simple, low cost and, where possible, recycled materials.
The structure consists of a wooden base of about 70 m floating on the recycled plastic drums, caged by wooden trusses that run along the perimeter and the rays of the octagon. The stems are screwed to the upper floor that supports the structure of the greenhouse and solar desalination.

Fresh water is provided by solar desalination 7 arranged along the perimeter, designed by environmental scientist Paul Franceschetti. These are capable of producing up to 150 liters per day of clean fresh water from salt water, brackish or polluted.

Solar distillation is a natural phenomenon: in the seas, the sun's energy evaporates water, which then falls as rain water. Jellyfish Barge in the desalination system replicates this natural phenomenon in small scale, sucking moist air and condense in making drums in contact with the cold surface of the sea.

The low energy required to operate the fans and pumps is provided by solar panels built into the structure. The greenhouse incorporates an innovative system of hydroponic cultivation. Hydroponics is a technique of growing out of the ground, which guarantees water savings of up to 70% compared to traditional cultures, thanks to the continuous water reuse.

Jellyfish Barge in most uses about 15% of sea water which is mixed with distilled water, ensuring even greater efficiency water. The overall operation of the cropping system is guaranteed by an automation system with remote monitoring and control.
Jellyfish Barge is designed to support about two families, so it is especially of small size to make it easy and doable its construction even in conditions of economic hardship.

It is modular, so a single element is completely autonomous, while most greenhouses flanked can ensure food security for an entire community. The octagonal shape of the platform allows you to combine different modules by connecting them with simple bases floating square base, which can become markets and meeting places of a small community on the water.

Jellyfish Barge is the result of a process - consistent and structured - led by Studiomobile since 2009 on the use of natural resources. In particular, rethinking the relationship with the sea through projects Jellyfish Farm and Nature Networking: miniserre floating from strong evocative flavor made with recycled material and presented, among others, at the Salone del Mobile in Milan and at the Biennale of Architecture in Venice .



The World Bank estimates for the population of the planet 2050 10 close to a billion people and resulting in global demand for food up 60-70% compared to today. Being able to meet this growing need for food in a reasonable manner, without impacting excessively on existing resources seems to be at the time a goal difficult to achieve, mainly because of the scarcity of water and land available for cultivation.

Much of the potentially arable land is concentrated in a few geographic areas, while many nations of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, with high population growth, have already reached or are close to reaching the limits of the availability of agricultural land.
Agriculture, using the 70% of fresh water on the planet, is the human activity that weighs more on existing water resources. In many areas of the world, such as India, Pakistan and in southern Spain, the increasing demand for water for agricultural purposes is satisfied extraction from underground reserves, consumed at a faster pace than the rainfall RETURN.

In many areas of the Middle East, instead, the water is obtained by energy intensive industrial processes of desalination. The scarcity of water and land available for agriculture is likely to be increased by climate change. Rising sea levels, for example, contribute to flooding saltwater bands ever more extensive fertile land. This phenomenon has already begun to occur with alarming frequency all over the Bay of Bengal.

Project team

Jellyfish Barge is a project of Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto (Studiomobile) and was developed by a multidisciplinary team coordinated by Professor Stefano Mancuso of the University of Florence, director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology.

Jellyfish Barge is produced by PNAT (, A spin-off of the University of Florence. The team is composed of Stefano Mancuso, botanists and plant physiologists Camilla Pandolfi, Elisa Azzarello, Elisa Masi and by architetti Cristiana Favretto and Antonio Girardi, founders of Studiomobile.

PNAT is the first think tank born in Italy where they interface design, science and biology to study technological and creative solutions to the issues left over from sustainability: on a planet with finite resources, how to ensure food security, access to water and the resilience of communities to environmental changes?

The project is coordinated by the University of Jellyfish Barge Florence and supported by grants from the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and the Tuscany region.









You Might Also Like