Hjördís Sigurðardóttir  is the founder and CEO of ALDIN Biodome. FRÉTTABLAÐIÐ Newspaper /SIGTRYGGUR ARI

Spor í Sandinn Ltd. is the developer of ALDIN Biodome that will, in the future, offer visitors an extraordinary experience based on botanical diversity, both outside on the edge of Elliðaárdalur valley and inside the climate-controlled and sustainable biodomes.

The ALDIN experimental garden has now been operated for the third year in a row. 

“We have already acquired important knowledge about how we can change the temperature of the soil and thereby harvest, in some cases many times more vegetables or greens, compared to traditional outdoor cultivation,” says Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, founder and CEO of ALDIN Biodome”.

Hjördís, who founded ALDIN in 2015, has a bachelors’ degree in food science and environmental planning and a masters’ degree in spatial planning from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She is also a part-time teacher in the subject at the Agricultural University of Iceland.

Artistic view of ALDIN Biodome, as seen from Stekkjarbakki. Image: WilkinsonEyre Architects

Using the wastewater from the nearby district „Stekkir“

ALDIN Biodome received a grant from the Students’ Innovation Fund the first time in 2015.

“The grant was used to do a research on using the wastewater from the Laugardalur swimming pool to warm up biodomes next to the pool and create a sustainable cluster.  We analyzed several defined factors in this respect that showed very positive results. We received a grant again in 2020 and 2021 to perform a research on using a fraction of a waste water  that flows into the sewer from Stekkjarbakki in Breiðholt district and then to the sea.  With the wastewater we heat up the soil in plant beds outdoors and with this we extend the growing season of many food plants, and also make it possible to grow exotic plants outdoors with this method.“ says Hjördís.

ALDIN Biodome has also received a continuation grant for the experimental garden

“Then we did further research and looked at the success of growing in heated beds and on a wider variety of vegetables and trees. Good experiments always raise many questions, as well as answers, and that’s how it is in our case,” says Hjördís.

Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, founder and CEO of ALDIN Biodome.

A Grant from NSN (Student Innovation Fund) helps

According to Hjördís, the NSN grants are at the same time quality certification and encouragement to conduct research in a scientific and thorough manner.

“For interested students and companies with good ideas, a grant from the Student Innovation Fund helps to implement research. The experimental garden also inspires the community and people in the built environment to make better use of underutilized resources and to consider diverse and exciting vegetable cultivation. In this way, knowledge will be created among people and a forum for dialogue in the field of vegetable growing,” explains Hjördís.

As a supervisor in research projects, she always tells her students that it is a prerequisite to choose a research project that they are very interested in.

“If so, and the student is diligent and competent, research can produce excellent results. It happened to us in February this year, when Karen R. Róbertsdóttir, a horticulture student, was recognized by the President of Iceland for an outstanding project. Karen oversees the garden experiment; she is in charge of measurements and evaluation of the results, writes all reports and proposes follow-up studies. A research and work of high quality will always result in more knowledge and skills for the person concerned, and at the same time more exciting opportunities,” says Hjördís.

Here can be seen several plant varieties that were grown in the ALDIN Biodome research garden the summer of 2022.  Image: Hjördís Sigurðardóttir

An International lifestyle company

It is planned to operate the Biodomes at Langagróf south of Elliðaárdalur valley, where the experimental gardens are located and has been operated the last three years. The core of the operation is horticulture and experiences based on that, and where currently quite a lot of 27 – 30°C wastewater flows directly into the sewer and then to the sea.

It is easy to imagine the future, to experience the plant world in a climate-controlled environment inside the biodomes – diverse, lush and interesting.  ALDIN Biodome will undoubtedly attract world attention. I see the future as ALDIN becoming an international lifestyle company serving an ever-growing group of people looking for a connection with nature and a deeper understanding of its magic,” says Hjördís.

For the original article see Fréttablaðið.