Mangrove Energy Farm

mangrove walkway

Angela Yoo

Mangrove Energy Farm is a speculative project which addresses the future implications of a new energy regime at Rosebank, an area which will deal with imminent threat from sea-level rise within this century. Transforming the underutilised mangroves into productive landscapes, the project aims to help the progress of change from our urbanisations of consumption to ecologies of production.

Our culture of consumption born from a civilisation dependent on oil has exhausted itself and we have reached the limits of economic growth within this system. Abundant cheap energy that once propelled immense global growth is now an unreliable, increasingly expensive and polluting foundation for our current urbanisations of consumption. According to Jeremy Rifkin, paradigm economic shifts occur when new energy systems merge with new communication technologies. We are now at the edge of a new shift with the merging of renewable energy and internet communication.[1] Internet communication is decentralised, distributed and has the power to organise the democratisation of energy because renewable energy is everywhere.

Mangrove Energy Farm uses soft engineering and Plant Microbial Fuel Cell (PMFC) technology to transform the abandoned mangroves at Rosebank into a productive coastline which can combat social determent to the coast. The PMFC gathers electrons released in the natural process of rhizodeposition. At a theoretical maximum, the technology could utilise half of the mangroves at Rosebank to power 10,000 homes.

Mangrove Energy Farm has PMFC spider robots placed along nets above the mangroves to harness energy that can be sent back to the power grid. In the future development of cities, power grids should ideally be upgraded to internet grids which can dynamically manage energy in decentralised networks. Mangrove Energy Farm protects the coast, promotes ecosystems and is resilient infrastructure for a sea-level rise scenario. It also changes perception of the mangroves from abandoned assets to productive systems that serve the community through energy generation and natural climate-change mitigation.

Mangrove Energy Farm is infrastructure for the emerging productive age, it is able to work within the biospheres of the earth, instead of colliding with natural systems—a problem with the way we have built in the past.

[1]     Jeremy Rifkin, The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 35.

%d bloggers like this: