Reimagine magnetic forces

Reimagine magnetic forces

NXplorers students in Qatar magnetised water to improve the arability of their land.

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NXplorers students in Qatar Science & Technology School for Boys, in Doha, reimagined magnetic forces to develop a solution that reduced the acidity of native soil to increase the arability of the land.

Their solution allows crops to be grown in less hospitable environments so Qatar can become a more self-sufficient and prosperous economy, reducing the country’s reliance upon imports.

For lots of environmental and geo-political reasons, Qatar is actively working to become a more self-sufficient country, with a self-sustaining economy. This is frequently discussed in the media and is something that NXplorers students from Qatar Science & Technology School for Boys in Doha hear on a day-to-day basis. So, it’s only natural that when they began the NXplorers programme, their first round of thinking was influenced by this big, national challenge.

One statistic that the students focused on was a projected growth of 6.3% for Qatar’s farming industry by 2026.

In order to support this ambitious goal, the team decided to look at ways to improve soil conditions for Qatari farmers to grow their own crops.

Revealing Farming Challenges In Qatar

This team took a deeper look at farming in the region. Farming consists of four stages: Seeding, germination, pollination and irrigation. The NXplorers focused on how they could help farmers make higher quality, higher yield crops while using fewer resources and improving the environment.

This was the fundamental problem the students identified – How to make Qatari farming more self-sufficient and reduce the country’s reliance upon costly imports?

Agricultural Technologies

To address this challenge the first tool the NXplorers employed was the Connection Circle which they used to identify the four main leverage points in farming resources – sunlight, energy, machines, soil acidity and fertilizers. All these elements affect farming efficiency either negatively or positively. There are lots of potential technologies that the team researched. Personalised fertilisers, hydroponics and magnetized water were considered along with lots of other ideas.

Refining Possible Solutions

The students then applied the scenario planning and feasibility funnel NXthinking tools to further establish the best technology and the possible pitfalls and positives that they might come across. More than anything it was the NXplorers Feasibility Funnel tool that was the critical point in the programme for this idea. Running ten different potential technologies through this tool helped the NXplorers uncover the potential of Magnetized Water.

Restoring The Balance Of Soil Properties

Magnetized water is easy to create and it reduces acidity by draining sodium from the soil. This process helps the soil retain water and makes it more fertile. Magnetized water used for irrigation in farming has the potential to answer some of Qatar’s most fundamental challenges – water scarcity, food production and self-sufficiency.

Reshaping The Delivery Of The NXplorers Programme

Because of Covid, this NXplorers programme was conducted entirely online. That means that this team were working much more theoretically than is usual. Instead of face-to-face contact with facilitators these NXplorers were working in much more isolation. With this in mind it’s even more impressive that they were able to home in on a local problem and apply practical, tenable solutions with global potential.

Conclusion

This project helped the NXplorers students to see that by removing sodium from Qatar’s soil they can increase crop yield, improve local economic prosperity, improve the self-sufficiency of their nation and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Magnetized water is easy to create and it reduces acidity by draining sodium from the soil. This process helps the soil retain water and makes it more fertile.”

NXplorers participant, Qatar

How This Project Contributes To The UN SDGs

2. Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

6. Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

8. Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Discover more about how Shell is contributing to all of the SDGs