Rooftop Aquaculture

This looks quite cool, mainly because I’m obsessed by Silent Running and want to escape into space where everyone will leave me alone.


It’s an indiegogo project for an aquaculture system that you can put up on your roof… or backyard or whatever. Assuming you have a flat roof. The guy does a TED talk about it here:

… which gives it a little more credibility I think than the indiegogo thing, which seems to come up with unnervingly round numbers. Like 100kg per year as an estimation of fish output – that looks like a number pulled out of thin air to me, but if these guys have experience doing this stuff, then maybe not. It appears they do – website here etc.

Which does seem to be able to generate a reasonable amount of food. For a completely closed system though, you’d need to do more than feed fish effluent back into the plants (if you’re going to eat the plants/fish)… you’d also need to spray human excrement, styrofoam containers, plastic bags, heavy elements and greenhouse gases in a fine drizzle over the whole system. Bring an umbrella.

Balls to that though. I’m going to make a mini one of these with fresh-water crayfish, because most of the ideal fish are illegal in NZ. The best ones anyway – pretty much everything else in the rest of the world is a threat to native wildlife.

Here are a load of really interesting pictures (if you like this sort of thing) off Conceptual Devices, the design partner’s site. This stuff rocks – kindof needs an easily defineable BOM though… so it can be like the reprap of DIY food.

2 Comments » for Rooftop Aquaculture
  1. Now we’re talking! This looks amazing. A dream come true. Great find.

  2. roid says:

    Yeah these estimates seem a little excessive to my eyes. I don’t think an approx 20 square meter area can absorb enough calories worth of sunlight per day to feed even 1 human, let alone… uh did that diagram actually imply this would feed 6 families? Wow, No.

    As a comparison, i’ve got old notes here talking about back when Valcent biofuels were growing algae biomass (basically the fastest growing plant on the planet) peaking out at 68kg/year/m2 of sunlight. Abiet, the biomass weight figure may be talking about DRIED mass. Thus it seems a bit rich that an aquaponic system this small could produce 500,000 kg of ANY sort of biomass in one year. Unless it’s over 99.99% water.
    And that’s just assuming purely plants, no fish. If you factor in the fish too you get calorie inefficiencies galore.

    Sunlight’s energy: approx 2190 kWh/m2/year
    Solar efficiency of photosynthesis: around 3%
    Necessary diet for a moderately active human: 3000 kcal/day

    Anyway, that was all just commenting on their strange estimates.
    It won’t produce enough calories for us to replace intensive monocrop farming, but it’s still a good idea. It’d be so nice to see buildings covered in productive green farm spaces, or at least solar panelling.