Farming can be extremely difficult in the areas that lack humidity and experience high temperatures and frequent droughts. However, a new innovative greenhouse, which collects dew and then uses it for irrigation, makes it possible to grow crops even in the hottest and driest parts of the world. It was designed by Roots Up, a non-profit organization based in Northern Ethiopia, which aspires to help Ethiopian farmers in cultivating crops in the unfavorable climatic conditions of the region.

It is worth mentioning that the Root Up greenhouse is a low-tech project, as it is built with the use of basic materials that can be easily found in the area, such as bamboo and ropes, and the construction itself is quite simple and does not require any special skills or tools. The greenhouse consists of polycarbonate pyramidal walls, a funnel made of bioplastic and a storage cistern.

How does the Roots Up greenhouse work?

In essence, it traps the humidity from the air during the day and converts it into the water in the evening through the process of condensation. At the daytime, the hot air is collected in the top part of the structure and at night, when the atmospheric temperature decreases, the greenhouse top is opened with the help of ropes, letting the cool air in and thus triggering dew formation in the funnel, which in turn directs the formed droplets into the storage cistern.

Thus, the system makes it possible to harvest dew that otherwise would simply evaporate into the air and be gone. Besides, the Roots Up greenhouse can also be used to collect and store rainwater that otherwise would be absorbed by the ground.

The quantity of produced water depends on the level of humidity in the atmosphere. Thus, in Gondar, where the humidity can reach 50%, it is possible to collect 200 l (44 gal) of water per day. At the same time, the harvested water is good for both irrigation and drinking.

Roots Up hopes to get funded through a flexible funding campaign on Indiegogo. The organization envisions creating a self-sufficient farming community in Northern Ethiopia. For this purpose, the first greenhouse is planned to be constructed in June, and 10 more greenhouses are to be built by November.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the Root Up greenhouse works.