With the growth of global population, urban development, and the increasing scarcity of fresh water in many regions, the security of food production is at risk and requires alternative and innovative strategies for local food production without increasing pressure on fresh water resources. As a response to this challenge, Red Sea Farms was founded with the purpose of developing smart saltwater agriculture systems that replace a large percentage of the primary freshwater inputs into agriculture systems with saltwater. These systems offer local, sustainable food and water security solutions are especially helpful in densely populated areas or regions with harsh climate conditions. Products in development at Red Sea Farms include the saltwater greenhouse system, saltwater-based cooling systems, high quality saltwater-grown food products, saltwater-tolerant seeds and seedlings, and turn-key saltwater-based agriculture systems.
Red Sea Farms has raised $1.9M in seed funding in 2019 to deploy the first of several planned smart saltwater agriculture systems. This Saltwater Greenhouse combines two categories of research innovations: plant science and agricultural engineering. The Saltwater Greenhouse is an agriculture system with a primary saltwater input that is capable of saving 70-95% of freshwater inputs and to 50-95% of energy inputs when compared with other greenhouse technologies. The Saltwater greenhouse utilizes unique climate control techniques powered by saltwater, liquid desiccants, and smart control systems utilizing AI and machine learning algorithms. On the plant science side, significant advances have been made in developing salt tolerant tomatoes that taste better, have a higher content of Vitamin C, and have a longer shelf life (important note: the developed tomatoes are non-GMO). Other crops are currently under development and a full basket of crops is possible from the Saltwater Greenhouse.
To protect core technology innovations on the greenhouse cooling, three patents are pending at PTC level. Additionally, the tomato varieties and growing techniques are being treated as trade secret with the potential for future patenting. At this moment, a design has been completed and a tender has been submitted to build a commercial pilot 2,000 m2 greenhouse in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. This pilot installation will be a reference to launch further into national and international markets, delivering a sustainable food security solution for water scarce regions in need of a saltwater-based, high-intensity, year-round, local food production system to feed growing and urban populations.