"Laying PEX pipe in the ground is much cheaper than for example building a greenhouse"

On the southern periphery of Elliðaárdalur in Reykjavík, an area has been allocated as a so-called urban farm, with the goal of connecting people and nature together in a totally new manner. The project is called ALDIN Biodome, and one of its subprojects has been to research how Iceland’s natural resources can be better utilized, for example, geothermal wastewater for outdoor cultivation of crops in order to extend the cultivation period and grow species that normally won’t grow outdoors in Iceland.

It’s only been one year since the research project was started but it’s already showing great promise. Karen Róbertsdóttir, a horticulture student in the greenhouse cultivation branch at the Agricultural University of Iceland and a shareholder in ALDIN Biodome, manages the research at the site and says that in her research they’re utilizing wastewater from Stekkjahverfi in Breiðholt which flows into the discharge system and out to sea. The water flows at around 100 liters per second at 28,5°C – sometimes even warmer. The project received funding from the Student Innovation Fund.

“We only use a tiny fraction of this water, around 0,2 liters per second to heat the soil across 200 square meters (of a 317m^2 garden; the control bed isn’t heated). Water flows into the beds in PEX tubing which we’ve set up in various configurations – various depths, sometimes with backflow, without insulation on the surface; with wood chips or pumice as insulation; with insulation in ditches between rows; without ditches; and so forth. Then we grow various plants to see the difference in cultivation with and without heat. The goal is to learn more, in support of ALDIN Biodome, farmers, and citizens in general – it’ll be of use in landscaping, home gardening, and other cultivation projects. Laying PEX pipe in the ground is much cheaper than for example building a greenhouse – and though it’s not as effective as building a greenhouse, the result can still be very significant.”

Read the complete article at www.aldin-biodome.is.

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