- 2018-08-29 16:39:47
Vertical agriculture is a revolutionary and sustainable agricultural approach that reduces the need for large amounts of agricultural water and saves a lot of space and land. This kind of agricultural innovation with sustainability as the core has led more and more people to pay attention to its ecological and environmental protection methods and the possibility of realizing agricultural production in extreme environments.
Although many people still question whether vertical agriculture can really solve the problem of food shortage in the world, it can’t stop many start-up companies from exploring food production in various extreme environments.
For example, can agricultural production no longer depends on the weather? Can you turn the entire building into a farm? How does a wind tower blend with vertical agriculture? What value can modulation and customization play in agricultural production? What new technologies and models will emerge in the vertical agriculture sector? In short, the explorers are boldly accelerating the transformation of vertical agriculture, and they are constantly forming new ways of growing vegetables.
The following 13 innovative technologies and their applications represent the latest developments in the vertical agriculture sector:
1. Hydroponics – a method of plant growth without soil
Hydroponics is a new method of plant cultivation that is widely used in vertical agriculture. This method replaces the soil with nutrient solution, thus eliminating bacteria and harmful substances in the soil, thus realizing the production of real green food.
Since the roots of the plants are immersed in the nutrient solution, the sensor can easily monitor the growth of nutrients in the plant growth and nutrient solution, and improve the optimal environment for plant growth.
2. Aerosol cultivation – plant cultivation without soil and little water
Aeroponics is a new type of cultivation method that was invented by NASA in the United States in the 1990s to find effective space planting techniques. This technique was later called “Aeroponics,” meaning “plants that grow in an air/mist environment without soil and little water.”
Aerosol cultivation The nutrient solution is atomized into small droplets by a spray device and sprayed directly onto the plant roots to provide the water and nutrients required for plant growth.
3. Fish and vegetable symbiosis – an ecosystem that integrates plant and fish farming
The fish and vegetable symbiosis system is very similar to the hydroponic system, but it is more optimized. The approach aims to integrate fish and plants into the same ecosystem. Fish grow in indoor ponds and produce nutrient-rich waste that can serve as a source of nutrients for plants in vertical farms.
On the other hand, these plants can purify and filter wastewater for use in fish ponds. The fish and vegetable symbiosis system simplifies production and economic issues and maximizes production efficiency. Compared with most vertical agricultural innovation technologies, the current application of fish and vegetable symbiosis system is relatively small.
4. Lokal – self-sufficient small family vegetable system
In September 2017, Space10, the IKEA Innovation Lab, proposed the idea of Lokal using a hydroponic agricultural system. Replacing the soil with nutrient solutions and replacing the sun with LED lights allows people to grow and harvest crops where there is no sunlight or soil indoors. This innovation can really help people grow fresh food in their own homes.
According to SPACE 10, the system can make plants grow three times faster than traditional methods and reduce water consumption by 90%. With the sensor, the user can keep abreast of the growth status of the crop on the mobile phone. In the long run, IKEA hopes to use machine learning to collect and analyze data from people using Lokal.
5. AeroFarms – Intelligent Vertical Agriculture Innovation
Established in 2004, the American vertical farm AeroFarms is a leader in indoor agriculture, using the latest technologies such as LED lighting, aerosol cultivation technology and climate control to grow vegetables without sunlight, soil and pesticides. At present, the company can grow more than 250 vegetable varieties.
Through sensors, the company can achieve intelligent digital management of the entire process of crop growth, shorten crop harvesting, improve food quality, and reduce environmental impact, making crop growth and harvest more controllable and efficient.
The company has built several farms around the world, including the world’s largest vertical farm in Newark, USA in 2016. The farm covers an area of 69,000 square feet and can produce 2 million pounds of vegetables and spices a year, saving 95% more water than crops grown in ordinary fields.
AeroFarms has raised a total of $138 million.
6. Plantscapers – buildings that provide food to residents
The Swedish food technology company Plantagon proposes an innovative solution that directly provides office space and buildings with food for people. To this end, Plantagon purchased a patent for a vertical greenhouse invented by a farmer named ke Olsson, which uses a rack transport system to gradually move the planting box from the floor of the vertical greenhouse to the ceiling without the need for artificial lighting.6. Plantscapers – buildings that provide food to residentsThe Swedish food technology company Plantagon proposes an innovative solution that directly provides office space and buildings with food for people. To this end, Plantagon purchased a patent for a vertical greenhouse invented by a farmer named ke Olsson, which uses a rack transport system to gradually move the planting box from the floor of the vertical greenhouse to the ceiling without the need for artificial lighting.
Plantagon has incorporated the patent into an office building that will be named World Food Building with the goal of producing at least 550 tons of vegetables per year and is expected to provide daily needs for nearly 5,000 people. To keep costs low, the building will be maintained and harvested using highly automated technology.
In addition, sunlight, temperature, nutrition and air quality will be monitored through an autonomous system.
7. VertiCrop – Urban Sustainable Agriculture Technology
VertiCrop, based in Vancouver, Canada, has launched a patent for agricultural planting technology for the city, which was named one of the world’s greatest inventions by Time magazine in 2009.
The technology is based on hydroponic technology, which moves the special suspension tray through the transport system to provide the best artificial light and natural light for plants.
The design allows crops to grow healthily in a controlled and enclosed environment, without the need for herbicides and pesticides, and yields 20 times the yield of common farm crops, requiring only 8% of the water needed for soil tillage.
8. Modular Farms – Producing fresh plants anywhere in the world
The modular farm system is a major innovation for Canadian company ModularFarms. It is a fully indoor vertical agricultural system that produces healthy and fresh plants in any climate and anywhere.
The modular farm is a custom design based on the urban farm concept, providing modules that can be used for a variety of purposes, allowing users to customize the system and expand its functionality to meet agricultural needs.
The modular farm system focuses on farmers’ return on investment and plant health. The system is the perfect match for container farms and a pilot technology for vertical agriculture.
9. Cubic Agricultural System – The Next Generation of Sustainable Agriculture Systems
Dave Dinesen, CEO of Canadian company Cubic Farms, pointed out in a TED presentation that the company is the next generation of consistent, predictable and profitable farm product developers.
The cubic agricultural system developed by the company works by conveyor rotation method, automatic nutrient delivery system and LED lighting to create the best growing environment for green plants, and the water consumption is only 1/26 of that of traditional agriculture.
The company’s technology completely eliminates the risks of general agriculture and achieves standardized output through controlled inputs. The products produced on the farm are very consistent in size, taste and color, and provide longer shelf life and higher nutrients. This also means stable and more predictable income.
10. ZipGrow – vertical farming of modern farmers
The American company ZipGrow combines vertical agriculture with soilless cultivation. The working principle of the vertical planting tower is to use the traditional hydroponic technology combined with the vertical gravity supply system to maximize the use of limited space and increase the benefit per unit area.
ZipGrow has fundamentally revolutionized the vertical agriculture industry, including system control, vertical plane growth technology and high-tech workflow design.
11. Bowery – the most technologically advanced commercial indoor farm in the worl
BoweryOS, a technologically advanced agricultural system developed by American indoor breeding company Bowery, can control the whole indoor growth process of crops without using pesticides. The yield is more than 30 times that of traditional planting methods, and more than 100 kinds of herbs and green leafy vegetables can be planted.
The technology automatically generates the ideal conditions for plants while collecting growth data and providing plants with precise light intensity and time, nutrients and purified water. The automatic irrigation system can measure and maintain the optimal level of water required for vegetable growth, saving 95% of water compared to traditional agriculture.
12. Skyfarm – Wind Vertical Farm Tower
British construction company Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presented a concept called Skyfarm during the 2014 World Architecture Festival. The intention is to create a hyperbolic tower with different farming techniques, including fish and vegetable symbiosis and traditional soil cultivation methods, suitable for producing crops in high-density urban areas or where land supply is low.
This multi-story building uses bamboo to create a sturdy circular frame while maximizing the sun’s exposure to the farm. The growth of crops and fish is supported by a circulatory system in which nutrients from fish are transported to crops, while crops provide filtered water to fish.
At the bottom of the tower is a large transparent water tank for the cultivation of fish such as salmon, tilapia and barramundi. In the middle of the tower, plants are planted by hydroponics. Further up, the plants grow through aerosols and soilless, and the top of the tower consists of a water tank and a turbine.
The tower aims to provide urban residents with short-term crop products throughout the year and is a typical example of sustainable agricultural solutions.
13. Sky Greens – the world’s first hydraulic vertical farm
Singapore-based company Sky Greens has developed a revolutionary vertical agricultural system that is also the world’s first low-carbon, water-powered farm. Vegetables are grown on the shelves and can be rotated around the clock.
On the farm, the plants at the bottom absorb the water, while the plants at the top get the sunlight, and the whole process continues to circulate. This approach minimizes water, land and energy consumption compared to traditional farming techniques.
In addition, the system’s output can be increased by a factor of 10 compared to conventional farms. Although the system is currently used to grow Asian vegetables, it can also be used to grow a variety of fruits and other vegetables.
Overall, vertical agriculture is increasingly becoming an attractive option as more and more consumers are already accepting this type of production. And these innovative technologies will become more and more popular and will completely change the face of vertical agriculture in the future!