BRISTOL R.I.__ Nestled by the Mt. Hope Bay lies the campus of Roger Williams University and is home to a state of the art science building where salt water tanks line the labs, except for one. The self-sustaining Hydroponics system that the club Engineers Without Borders created is home to both fish and a farm.
This system is built right in the greenhouse attached to the side of the Marine and Natural Sciences building on Roger Williams’ campus. This group of talented engineers have designed and built this system that will not only feed the fish, but use no additional water.
Its this method of growing food that will sustain the campus community. This ebb and flow system can flood the tray that contains the soil and plants to water them. The excess water drains back into the fish tank, where the freshwater fish will feed off of the nutrient runoff from the plants. That water then goes through a series of filters before flooding the tray, and starting all over again.
The group Engineers Without Borders hopes to travel to developing countries to teach them this way of farming. Weather conditions, soil conditions and droughts are no problem for this system. Nestled in a greenhouse for temperature control and protection, plants can grow and sustain themselves.
The club is working on getting a solar panel so that there is zero outside energy used to power the pumps circulating the water. They grow plants that are local to Rhode Island and they sell to local farmers markets and to the dining hall on the very campus they grow on.
With the world’s population taking over farming land, and having all those mouths to feed, hydroponics is the most efficient way to feed all those hungry people. This takes up virtually no floor space and there are companies that are now converting storage containers into full fledged farms.
This is an innovative way to continue to feed the world’s population now, and 50 years from now.