A solar powered food-producing laboratory at Bermuda College is a step closer to completion with help from the private sector – and will offer courses in aquaponics to the public this coming autumn.

Aquaponics, the science of growing plants in water and breeding fish in tanks, started at the college at the end of 2018. Oakley Capital Investments, a private equity firm, is financially supporting the project, with an upgraded lab named after the company.

Its next objective will be to get the system fully operational at the completion of phase II of the project, when it will yield 900 lettuce and vegetable plants a year, along with more than 100lb of fish.

Aquaponics has engaged students from disciplines including earth sciences, applied technology, engineering and maths – as well as carpentry, electrical systems and plumbing. Phase II will be the completion of a purpose-built facility to boost production, which will be operated by students as a small business. The college said it would serve as “a living laboratory for the small business management and entrepreneurial courses”.

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