Turning desert into farmland using just water and clay
Arid land filled with rows and rows of green leaves and fresh fruits and vegetables. This is made possible by Liquid Nanoclay-- a new innovation produced by Norwegian startup Desert Control. Made with just water and clay, Liquid Nanoclay is designed to be sprayed on sand or sandy soil.
According to the company, the mixture increases the fertility of nutrient-poor sandy soils and reduces water usage by more than 50%. Invented in the mid 2000's by Norwegian scientist Kristian Olesen, Desert Control's technology turns thick clay into a liquid nearly as thin as water. When sprayed onto sand, this runny consistency allows it to "trickle down and percolate out. Clay-rich soils hold more nutrients and water.
Growing crops in the desert is a high priority for many countries with desertification on the rise globally. Innovations that allow crops to flourish in dry areas could help shore up the food supply in many countries.
Sounds too good to be true? Tests are currently being done to make sure that there is no negative impact on fragile desert ecosystems. Another downside is the costs. Scientists are working on scaling up production and developing a mobile unit, which will certainly bring down costs.
If the price can be reduces and made affordable for the least income countries, the invention can have a tremendous impact on food security and the ability of many of those countries to use their own crops.