My project is a sustainable indoor growing system that can produce even in the winter. It could be super useful to communities all across Alaska, and can provide way bigger yields then normal gardening. It only uses 2% of the water traditional gardening does, and is 3 times more efficient.
This system uses aeroponics technology combined with aquaponics to produce super efficient plant growth. Aeroponics is a method of growing that uses a high pressure mist to keep the plant roots wet. It uses a tank of water to automatically water the plants, which are grown in a tower. The pressure is provided by a pump and a pressure tank. And to harness the benefits of aquaponics, which is combining plant and fish cultivation, I will put blue tilapia in the water tank, which can provide natural nutrients and be consumed.
The system will be powered by a high pressure pump that transfers water to a pressure tank, and into the four towers. Each tower will be a different height, so I can fit it into the space it needs to go. The four towers will be 3 feet, 3.5 feet, 7 feet, and 7.5 feet tall, and raised 3 feet off the ground for drainage. The tank that the fish live in will be about 60 gallons, and capable of supporting up to a dozen mature tilapia. The sterile plastic towers and glass tank will prevent root infections such as root rot or mold, and provide an overall healthier environment.
To monitor the health of the fish and the plants, the garden will incorporate a Raspberry Pi, an Arudino microcontroller, and multiple sensors to monitor water level, ph, psi, and dissolved solid. Using the culmination from my first system, I can improve on my design and write up a very detailed research paper.
My plan is to construct one of these gardens with my local school, and then spread to other schools through my district. Eventually, I hope all Alaskans will be able to take advantage of this system's bountiful harvests.
Funded by STEAM (July 2021)