portray Startups

Jellyfish Barge – A Floating greenhouse for intensive cultivation

STARTUP: http://www.pnat.net
DESCRIPTION: Jellyfish Barge is a modular floating greenhouse for intensive cultivation, able to purify sea water using solar energy.

PLACE: Firenze / Italy
Pre-Seed: University
Regione Toscana
ondazione Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
European Commission

The food production worldwide uses a huge amount of resources. In 2050 the global demand for food is expected to be 60-70% higher than today. Scarcity of water and cultivable land are the main obstacles to feed more the 9 Billion people.
Jellyfish BargeJellyfish Barge is a modular floating greenhouse for intensive cultivation, able to purify sea water using solar energy. One module consists of a wooden base of 70 sm, floating on recycled plastic drums, supporting a glass greenhouse, which is surrounded by 7 solar desalination units able to produce up to 150 liters per day of clean fresh water from salt, brackish, or polluted water. Seawater evaporates within the units and it is forced to condense into drums in contact with the cold surface of the sea. Solar panels provide the low energy required to power fans and pumps (about 150 Wh). Inside the greenhouse, a hydroponic high efficiency cultivation method provides up to 70% of water savings compared to traditional cultures. The cultivation system is installed on vertical stands to increase plant density.

What are the main challenges?
Camilla Pandolfi:

What is the best location for a Jellyfish Barge?
Antonio Girardi: We think that we have a good solution which is very flexible, able to be used in many areas of the world. Just think about big, crowded cities which need fresh vegetables and which now are trying to invent systems to grow crops locally. But think also about communities, remote communities, for example in Africa or in many other areas of the world. So the financial and the economical sustainability of this project should also keep in mind that we are also facing a great social problem. And so I think that this solution can be industrialised in order to create a cheaper design but also keeping in mind that we are not only producing agricultural infrastructure but also offering a solution for social innovation.

Who are you potential customers?
Camilla Pandolfi: Our potential customers are located in all the places where lack of fresh water and lack of viable land doesn’t allow the cultivation of local food. So many countries have only importation to supply vegetables and we think that those will be our first customers. For example, in the Arabic Peninsula they have to import 70 % of the vegetables. So probably, to start with, we will tackle that market.

What are the next steps?

What is on your timeline for the next six months?
Antonio Girardi: We are going to industrialize the prototype and enter the market.

When you look back. Is there a special event from last months you would like to mention?
Antoinio Girardi: We built a Jellyfish Barge fort the Expo 2015 in Milano and that was an amazing event for us.



– “International Award on Innovative Ideas and Technologies on Agribusiness” promoted by UNIDO and CNR
– First place at the Start-up competition “Giovani talenti imprenditoriali” promoted by the Italian Agriculture Ministry
– First place at the competition organized by UN and CNR “Idee innovative e tecnologie per l’agribusiness”
ellyfish Barge has been selected by the US Pavillion at Expo for an acceleration program within the project “Feeding the accelerator”
– Second price at the United Nations Economic Commision For Europe (UNECE) award “Ideas4Change”
– COOP selected Jellyfish Barge as one of the project to be exposed with a scaled model at EXPO, in the Future Food District

-First prize at the award by Regione Toscana “Impresa, Lavoro, Innovazione”

Camilla’s pitch at the Hello Tomorrow Challenge 2015

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