There are several challenges that threaten the farming activities on the Ethiopian highlands. Roots Up has designed a greenhouse for use in hot, dry climates that collects dew for irrigating the crops inside.
Collecting enough rainwater to grow crops can be difficult, so an alternate potential source of water for collection can be dew. This greenhouse has a multifunctional purpose: grow food and produce water. Inside, the hot air is trapped so the temperature in the greenhouse keeps rising throughout the day. The heat causes water to evaporate, creating air humidity making the greenhouse atmosphere better for plants’ growth as well as maximizing the dew harvest.
When the surface temperature drops in the evening, the farmer pulls out the rope to open the top of the greenhouse allowing it to cool, eventually reaching the dew point. Atmospheric water vapor condenses to form small droplets on the surface of the bioplastic sheet, falling into the water tank container. This system allows farmers to harvest water as safe drinking water and irrigation.
According to Roots Up, the amount of water that can be collected depends on the level of humidity in the atmosphere. In the high region of Gondar, Ethiopia, humidity is around 50 percent in the dry season and it is estimated that up to 44 gallons of water a day can be harvested. The Roots Up project is a non-profit organization affiliated with Ethiopia’s University of Gondar. The company plans to deploy these greenhouses in Northern Ethiopia soon and will offer training to local farmers on how to maximize their crop yields using the technology. Roots Up is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo.