Robert Dell

Director, Center for Innovation and Applied Technology

Heated Garden Project: New York City and Iceland

                         Prof. Robert Dell has developed a new energy intensive outdoor shallow system of geothermal heated ground agriculture was constructed and hasbeen tested at the Agricultural University of Iceland in Hveragerdi since 2007. The 5 by 10 square meter experimentalheated garden and a 5 by 5 square meter control garden both have three different soil mixtures and depths of 10 and 20centimeters (cm) over a piping system that is analogous to a heated sidewalk. A geothermal borehole supplies steam and steam condensate at temperatures from 100°-125*C. A traditional shell and tube heat exchanger circulates a mixture of water and automotive anti-freeze continuously throughout the year in a closed loop at temperatures between 45-65*C. Soiltemperatures at 10 cm depth range from 25-40*C. A similar system in New York City is incorporated into green roofs. Both heated bed systems have extended growing seasons and an average seasonal increase in plant growth of 20%. In Iceland out of range cultivars grow in the heated beds and either die or grow poorly in the control plot. Some heated grass areas are green throughout the winter. In New York City early and documented. In both plots weed growth patterns producedsimilar results.  The growing season was increased both in Iceland and New York City by a minimum of four weeks.



          " For the past five years Robert Dell has conducted experiments in a heated garden at the Agricultural University of Iceland at Reykir, Olfusi. The success that Professor Robert Dell has had this year in his heated gardens goes far beyond what can be expected outdoors in Iceland. Banana plants have been grown in greenhouses in Iceland for decades and any attempts to grow them outdoors have failed. To have a banana plant alive outdoors in September, after being outdoors from early summer is spectacular. Some growers have tried to grow tomatoes outdoors without shelter from polytunnels or sun frames but the plants have not survived for long, let alone produced fruit. The same can be said about zucchinis… The conclusion we come to here is that the heated garden gives the plants approximately the same advantage as if the plants had been grown in polytunnels or sun frames in Iceland."

Guðríður Helgadóttir                                                                                                                                                                               Head of the Faculty of Vocational and Continuing Education Agricultural University of Iceland                                            November, 2012


    The heated gatrden research is  conducted under the auspices of the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology at the Cooper Union. Cooper Union Research Assistants include: Subashis Paul, William Foley, Chrystina Sorrentin,
Björg Árnadóttir(Keilir Institute of Technology, Iceland) Kemi Adeyeba, J ames Baker, Franklin Chu, Rohan Chuhan , Tanu Chauhan , Michael David, Eric Ginzburg, Cathy Hagan, Yelena Ilin, Sangah Kim, Taylor Knoblock, Diana H. Lee, Gina Magnotti , Melody Ma, Rene Markinos,Samantha Massengill, Natalie Mayslich, Anthony Morris, Sara Rose Nodroff, Lukman Osi , Takuya Otani, Jung Kwan Park, Nick Powell, Jake Presky, Nick Rotella, Matt Schoen,