First sustainable greenhouse research facility launched in Oman

The first sustainable greenhouse designed to solve food security issues in Oman was inaugurated at Sohar University.
The greenhouse named Grow Dome — designed by University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Sohar University — will be used as a research facility, showing off its potential to grow vegetables and herbs, and breed and grow fish. The ceremony was held under the auspices of Eng Ahmed bin Hassan al Dheeb, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The project is a product of a research grant awarded to Sohar University in collaboration with University of Sheffield in 2017 by the British Council under the UK-Gulf Institutional Links Programme, which is part of the UK government’s strategic commitment to strengthening partnerships with the Gulf countries.
In a report, Sheffield University explained the Grow Dome was no ordinary greenhouse, but harnesses technologies such as hydroponics and aquaponics for farming. It makes use of solar desalination which requires little more than power generated by the sun and converts seawater into freshwater. It was also designed to provide a cooler environment, rather a hotter one, using evaporative cooling.
Duncan Cameron, a Soil Microbiologist at the University of Sheffield, who helped lead the project, said: “Oman is a difficult country. It reaches highs of 50 degrees Celsius during summer with 65 per cent humidity and struggles to grow anything. This leads to food prices quadrupling during the season.”