SINGAPORE: Fish farms could soon sprout at a park or rooftop near you, if Surbana Jurong's blueprint for a new vertical farming concept catches on.
The infrastructure consultancy unveiled on Monday (Sep 4) its design for Floating Ponds - vertical farms that can be tucked into Singapore's urban spaces, such as rooftops and underneath viaducts, or be integrated into parks and buildings.
The system will allow farms to rear more fish while taking up less space than conventional farms, Surbana Jurong said.
A closed-loop farming system, the Floating Ponds tap solar energy to grow algae on rooftops. The algae is then used to feed the fish, and nutrient-rich water from the tanks can be used to grow vegetables. More than 90 per cent of the water in fish tanks is recycled, reducing the need to top up fresh water.
"You can build these facilities within the city. The logistic cost and the uncertainty of whether you will find a catch if you go to the ocean are therefore eliminated," said Surbana Jurong group CEO Wong Heang Fine.
A three-storey prototype was developed in partnership with Singapore fish farm Apollo Aquaculture Group. Since its implementation last year, the fish farm has seen its yields increase by more than three times.
"This is something we’re not (just) talking about, we’re really demonstrating it. And I think this puts us at an advantage."," said Apollo deputy CEO Lucky Phua.
The farm plans to double its capacity to six storeys, which could potentially lead to a yield of up to 5,000 tonnes of food fish annually.
Surbana Jurong said it is in discussions with government agencies to implement the new system in urban areas in the future. It also has plans to expand overseas, such as to India, China and Africa, Mr Wong said.
"A lot of these countries are looking at food resilience as an issue for them to resolve," said Mr Wong. "So this particular Floating Pond as an intensified way of doing farming - whether it’s vegetables or seafood - will come in very useful for them."