Sundrop Farms

A seawater cooled, solar powered semi-closed greenhouse, situated in a harsh, desert environment

Sundrop Farms, Australia

Van der Hoeven’s Sundrop farms uses sustainable resources, such as sunlight and seawater.

Innovative solutions

Technologies implemented in this project:

Entire greenhouse (20 ha) cooled with seawater through use of adiabatic cooling / evaporative coolers. Seawater is desalinated on-site using Multiple Effect Distillation (MED) covering the full irrigation demand. Concentrated Solar Power system (CSP) generates electricity, powers the MED and heats the greenhouse using solar energy

Project description

Sundrop Farms is a global leader in sustainable agriculture, growing produce in a Van der Hoeven designed greenhouse, using renewable inputs. Sundrop Farms is situated at the top of the Spencer Gulf, near the city of Port Augusta. Given the lack of fresh water and harsh climate, traditional horticulture is simply not feasible in this area.

However, with the help of the latest and most advanced technologies, it has been made possible to grow natural and high-quality produce, even in the desolate natural environment.

Seawater is used for adiabatic cooling and the scale at which this happens makes Sundrop unlike any other of its kind. In order to continuously optimize the system, the seawater cooling process has been monitored since its opening in 2015. The state-of-the-art solar tower is used to produce energy that powers the plant growing systems and heats and cools the greenhouses as required. There are more than 23 000 mirrors to capture sunlight and direct it to the central receiver at the top of the 115-meter tower. Water for crop irrigation is piped from the Spencer Gulf and treated with the thermal desalination unit. Additional water is harvested from the roof.

Overview of the Sundrop Farms facility

CSP field and solar receiver

Adiabatic cooling with seawater offers optimal climate control inside the ModulAIR greenhouse, enabling the cultivation of high-quality tomatoes year-round


Together with Van der Hoeven we’ve been able to demonstrate that is possible to take non-agricultural land and make it highly productive. Steve Marafiote, CEO Sundrop Farms

Ambitious plans?

Do you want to achieve the best results for your project? We’re ready. Let’s talk. +31 88 262 66 66

van den Brink

Chief Technology Officer