Food Cultivation on the Ocean – from Ericsson Innovation Awards, Girls Who Innovate

We’re featuring blogs from winners of the EIA: Girls Who Innovate Competition, which challenged girls around the world to propose solutions around the growth, production, distribution and consumption of food.


Today we’re featuring a blog from Nirmitha, a student in Ireland who won 2nd place in the 13-15 year old competition. 


Where does food come from? If you answered land… you ought to read ahead. Yes, food comes from land, but land scarcity is the biggest challenge to handle world hunger. My idea is to move on to the ocean for a better answer. Cultivate food on the ocean.

Here’s how:

My idea is to build a solar powered ship with green house in it to grow plants. This way we move out of land and can avoid soil toxicity.


Source: Based on data

Features of the Ship:

  1. Solar powered ships will save energy – as we are not using any fossil fuels this will be done by using solar panels which will harness the energy of the sun to move the ship forward. This is a much cheaper method than ships that use fossil fuels. It is also a source of renewable energy.
  2. Greenhouses will protect from varying weather conditions and provide fresh water.  This water can be provided through condensation in conditions where there is very little rain.
  3. Another way we can provide fresh water is by filters under the greenhouse which use reverse osmosis/desalination method to provide pure water.
  4. Echo sounders will prevent threats from marine creatures by detecting the presence of the marine life and mimic their echo which it uses to alert for them to move away from danger.
  5. A fish tank underneath the ship will be useful for providing nutrients for the plants as we are using fish waste to provide nutrients for the plants.
  6. You can steer the ship to geographical zones to suit climatic requirements for the growth of plants using navigators.

My journey with Girls Who Innovate:

You must be wondering how I came up with this idea. It all started in school with our usual routine of taking books out of the locker and putting books back in the locker until the bell rang for assembly time.

Our year head gave us an announcement about Ericsson having a hackathon where we could get an opportunity to learn programming for a day. Obviously, everybody was excited, and we had to sign our name on the notice board if we wanted to go. There was a huge crowd in lunch time to sign their name for a day at Ericsson. I quickly took out my pen and signed the notice board. A few days later in SPHE class, our year head said that there were so many signatures on the notice board, as if we were practicing our autograph, so they decided to pick names out of a hat.

Unfortunately, I was not lucky. I told my father that I was not lucky to go to the hackathon then he told me “People who have not seen Ericsson got an opportunity to see Ericsson which is good. You will also get an opportunity for any occasion.  But if you earn yourself an opportunity in future, that would be the best thing.”

After a few months when it was near the summer exams, my father told me about this competition during a dinner table conversation. He said the title was ‘Technology to help reduce world hunger’. I was then recapping over my science, geography and CSPE (the competition was around the time I had my geography summer exams). In these lessons, we were learning the importance of water and how it is a natural resource and renewable as well. So, I came up with the idea of ‘Cultivation on the ocean’.  My project went through to the final and I won second prize.

Life after winning EIA: Girls Who Innovate:

As a winner of EIA: Girls Who Innovate worldwide competition, I was invited into Athlone, Ericsson Software Campus for Tech day on the 14th of September 2017. I had an opportunity to present my project to the chief guest (Swedish ambassador!) and Ericsson employees.  I also demonstrated an Arduino based project to deal with challenges in the winning project.

And then my science teacher said I should apply this project for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2018, and I am hoping to get my idea through.

Swedish Ambassador to Ireland Ms. Anna Brandt, with Nirmitha discussing on UN sustainable goals that Ambassador herself was part of.

All this is not just luck.  It’s the opportunity Ericsson gave me and all those behind scene are the employees at Ericsson who voted for my project. My Special mention to Ms. Rachel O’Toole, Ms. Edel Carroll A and other Ericsson “Infuse” project team members.  Thanks a million! Finally, I got to know what it’s like inside Ericsson.

Learn more about Nirmitha’s idea from her videos and presentations:

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