Urban Agriculture Floating Dome

Self-sustained modular floating farms for coastal mega-cities.

Floating greenhouses that solar distill the freshwater they use, making for a land, water and energy neutral form of scale-able agriculture.

Use Case

The user is any co-operative of individuals or private corporation that is interested in enabling a sizable food production operation in a coastal city. Given that over 3 out of 5 mega-cities are coastal, a rather large global user base could be drawn to this technology. Anybody interested in the idea of modular acreage of farm grow-space to supply to grocery stores or restaurant establishments within a city would seek out a manufacturer of these floating dome greenhouses and deploy it with the appropriate legal permitting required for close to the price of a family car/acre. This greenhouse works as a contained system for every resource but weekly nutrient input, allowing a high potential for automation if the user so desires/if there is a shortage of human resource.


When approaching the problem of feeding 9 billion people from the macro-scale, consider that humanity has to operate all of its agricultural activity on close to 15% (half of the land area) without expanding further into the few remaining wild-lands. This calls for an intensification into the existing footprint. The continued urbanization of mankind only further aids the process of containing human impact. A new model of low impact-low input expansion into underutilized real estate, that has ample solar radiation and water combined with agriculture where it’s needed most-cities. If executed appropriately, this could add significantly to the blue-green economy, that enables resilience in the age of rapid sea level rise. The scale-ability of this is as vast as the ocean.

Business Case

Our mission is the development and deployment of the floating greenhouse in an experimental and open source way. Beginning with careful city and site selection, the process will involve refining the design that is integrated in the coastal space. Once developed, the prototype greenhouse will serve as a model for the economic viability. Given that the regulatory and social framework for a system as novel as this still needs to be explored in detail, we firmly believe that an effective public-private partnership will also need to be forged to involve the local city councils. Upon the demonstration and completion of an exemplary model in a selected pilot city, we will be seeking corporate partners to scale up operations and to eventually work out the nuances of a functional, efficient system


  1. To invent and deploy a form of economically profitable urban agriculture that is highly resource efficient.
  2. To prove the viability of water-neutral agriculture through local solar distilling operations that nourish the plants in the greenhouse.
  3. To enable a level of scale-ability in agriculture that has always been stifled by real-estate expenses or resource shortages.

Team BlueGreen Nexus

Vermont, United States of America

The 6 types of hydroponic systems! in one neat graphic. / Published December 29, 2016 by Rohit Fenn

The 6 types of hydroponic systems! in one neat graphic.


A simple breakdown of every system out there used in soil-less indoor environments or in our case the ocean top.

Our Team

Our Mission

Our mission is the opensource development of an affordable floating dome greenhouse that is self-sustained, water-neutral, energy-neutral, with the grow capacity of a 1 acre farm as a novel, modular and scale-able urban agriculture model. By alleviating the most challenging barrier to urban agriculture today i.e real-estate prices by expanding where there is plenty of water and sunlight with much less competition for space, the sea/ocean is the next frontier for sustainable, efficient and economically viable urban food production. Considering that the vast majority of mega-cities are coastal or close to a large water body, alternative approaches to feeding these ever growing urban centers must be deployed.

Our Background

Our team is composed of three core members each from a different college in the country working collaboratively on articulating a vision for a sustainable and affordable model of ocean agriculture. This is ambitious and brand new but the potential it has, we believe is absolutely worth pursuing. An opensource collaborative approach to this is imperative if this is to truly be a solution for our rapidly urbanizing human population. Rohit is an Environmental chemistry major at Sterling College, Vermont but has a deep appreciation and affinity for design thinking with a systems approach. After having invented and patented a water-efficient toilet that won him finalist position at the Google Science Fair, he has worked with setting up bio-energy systems on animal farms and partaken in a few greenhouse builds. Some of his ideas about urban agriculture made him delegate representing India for the Youth Agriculture Summit hosted by Bayer in Australia in 2015, where he met Katelyn, a US delegate. Katelyn goes to Green Mountain college, Vermont. She studied urban design in the Netherlands and created a course under the same theme at her own college. She is actively involved with the Slow Food Chapter at her school, hosting events that invite speakers from around the state. Dipali is a User Experience Design student at the Savannah College of Art and Design and believes passionately in being able to bring this technology to fruition through shared design principles including simplicity, affordability and efficiency while ensuring it is an artifact of architectural beauty.

Our Badges

  • Power Team
    Your team has at least three members
  • Design Lab Experts
    Attended at least one of the weekly TFF Design Lab “office hours” sessions.
  • We Famous
    Your project has been covered by your university or other media outlet
  • Get #Social
    Created team Facebook or Twitter page and attached to team page
  • Fan Club
    You have 100 likes or followers on your team Facebook or Twitter
  • Interior Architect
    Posted three pictures of your team workspace
  • Idea Parkers
    Shared a picture of your teams unique “idea parking”
  • Global Foodies
    Posted three facts about global food issues learned in the Explore mode
  • Insight + Insight + Insight
    Shared three new insights your team formulated in the Define mode
  • On Time, On Target
    Shared your Design Statement created during the Define mode
  • Post-it Fiends
    Shared pics of the chaos of the post-it filled Ideate work mode
  • Brain Food
    In the Ideate intro video, Richard shares an important tip while eating an apple. Share a team-apple-eating pic!
  • Expert Input
    Shared three pieces of expert feedback on your concept
  • GIF Masters
    Shared a GIF of the prototype building frenzy
  • Live Testing
    Shared a video of a user testing your concept
  • Way To Go
    Shared a picture of your plan for iterating your project
  • Etch-A-Sketch
    Shared your logo sketching session on your team blog
  • WE DID IT!!
    Submitted Final Pitch, including videos and concept details
The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.