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  • richardmitnick 11:12 am on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Vertical farming – high-rise agriculture   

    From Science Alert: “World’s largest vertical farm opens this year in the US” 2015 But Worth It 


    Science Alert

    22 APR 2015 [Old but worth the visit.]

    It’s 75 times more productive than an open field farm.

    What the farm will look like when it opens. Credit: AeroFarms

    A 21,031-square-metre vertical farm will open in Newark, New Jersey later this year, and is expected to grow close to a million kilograms of pesticide-free produce annually. Made out of an old steel factory, the farm will not only be 75 times more productive than a farm of a similar size spread across a flat, open field, but it requires far less to run.

    Built by AeroFarms, which is a US-based company intent on creating more environmentally friendly farming solutions, the facility requires zero soil, 95 percent less water than traditional farms, and because it’s pesticide-free, doesn’t cause any harmful run-off to the environment surrounding it.

    The farm also uses recyclable materials, and a lighting system that conserves energy by facilitating more efficient photosynthesis. Web Urbanist explains:

    “Plants rooted in reusable microfleece cloth and stacked in modular planters will be sprayed by a nutrient mist and illuminated by LED lights. … The company is ‘targeting specific wavelengths of light for more efficient photosynthesis and less energy consumption. LEDs can also be placed much closer to the plants, enabling greater vertical growing for even greater productivity per square foot’.”

    The farm will also use an ‘aeroponic mist’, which is packed with nutrients and oxygen so the plants don’t suffer from being indoors all the time. This mist has all the nutrients of soil, except the plants don’t need to fish through the waste to get at them, so the theory is that they’ll grow more robust more quickly.

    According to Dan Nosowitz at Modern Farmer, AeroFarms says it will achieve a full crop cycle – so, seed to harvest – in just 16 days. The farm’s been tipped to open this year, so we’ll soon see if the farm will live up to its promises. I sure hope so. We need better food production solutions, and traditional farming is becoming more and more ill-suited to our progressively resource-poor world.

    Just last week, engineering students in Peru came up with their own solution to the problem of farming, by constructing a billboard that doubles as a sustainable and healthy roadside farm and a nifty advertisement for their university. We love ideas like this. Keep them coming.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 5:36 pm on December 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Vertical farming – high-rise agriculture   

    From DLR: “Vertical farming – high-rise agriculture” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    11 December 2015

    Manuela Braun
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Corporate Communications, Editor, Human Space Flight, Space Science, Engineering
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-3882
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    Daniel Schubert
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    DLR Institute of Space Systems
    Tel.: +49 421 24420-1136

    Conrad Zeidler
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    DLR Institute of Space Systems
    Tel.: +49 421 24420-1196

    Vertical Farm

    Growing lettuce

    Flourishing in a controlled environment

    Arable land disappeared from city centres, where most people live, many years ago. Nowadays, food is transported over long distances before reaching the consumer. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have now joined with international partners to create ‘Vertical Farm 2.0’, which will enable the multi-level cultivation of plants in large cities. This would allow for extremely short transport routes and would not need farmland at all. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs could be cultivated and harvested all year round. “We would grow the plants in our production factory under precisely controlled and ideal conditions,” explains Conrad Zeidler, Project Leader at the DLR Institute of Space Systems. “Our lettuce and tomatoes would not taste any different to the food that people buy in supermarkets today.”

    Although the ‘greenhouse’ would occupy a land area of no more than 74 by 35 metres, each storey could yield more than 630,000 kilograms of lettuce or 95,000 kilograms of tomatoes annually. The vegetables could be grown on different shelf levels accommodating various plants on each of the six-metre-high floors. This system would provide 5000 square metres to cultivate lettuce, or 1700 square metres for tomatoes, on each floor. The plants would be exposed to LED light and receive a precisely controlled nutrient solution. The DLR scientists are currently testing optimum lighting, the best possible irrigation system and ideal arrangements of the plants in their ‘Evolution and Design of Environmentally closed Nutrition sources’ (EDEN) laboratory. The Vertical Farm consists of five levels in total – four of them are designated to cultivate plants, whereas the lowest floor would house the logistics centre, the administration and the chilled rooms for multi-day storage, among other facilities. The technical systems such as the elevators and tanks would be installed at the centre of the building, the so-called ‘core’.

    Tailored to a variety of locations

    “It is particularly important that the high-rise ‘greenhouse’ has a modular structure that will enable its adaptation to suit the specific requirements of each location,” says Zeidler. For instance, if the demand for lettuce is particularly high in Tokyo and tomatoes are much in demand in Moscow the Vertical Farm concept should easily be able to cater for the wishes of the consumers. The principle that parameters such as humidity, light and nutrients are precisely controlled remains the same for each location. “This means that the plants will grow faster and therefore the growth process is more productive. We can even influence the taste by adjusting the parameters.” The plants receive their nutrients in a liquid form so that soil is not necessary. “We have a clean cycle, sealed from the outside world, and therefore do not need any pesticides or chemical insecticides.” The system will only need a relatively small amount of process water, as it is continually re-used. This kind of self-contained ‘greenhouse’ will also allow the scientists to do their research independently of the weather and the season.

    The substantial amount of energy that the LED lighting requires is the greatest challenge at the moment. “Out in the field, the Sun provides this energy free of charge.” Nevertheless, Zeidler remains confident: “LEDs are becoming increasingly efficient, which means the relative cost of their energy consumption will also drop over the next few years.”

    The engineers, biologists, technicians and architects involved in the planning of Vertical Farm 2.0 have taken a significant step forward following an interdisciplinary study conducted over several days in the Concurrent Engineering Facility (CEF) at DLR Bremen. The DLR experts completed this study in close collaboration with the Association for Vertical Farming, an umbrella organisation co-founded by DLR. “Our objective is ambitious – to build, together with our partners, a pilot vertical farm in Europe,” says Daniel Schubert, Team Leader of the EDEN Group at DLR. A vertical farm of this kind could be used in many different areas: “Areas where arable land is not available due to poor soil quality and insufficient water, such as a desert, would be conceivable, for instance. The system would also be suitable for regions with very low temperatures, where traditional agriculture is extremely restricted.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

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