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Vertical Farming Technology

Video Credit: Bowery Farming

With the world's population expected to grow by another 2 billion people by 2050, Feeding everyone will be challenging due to space scarcity, water and fresh delivery produces for healthy eating.

Could Vertical farming innovation be a solution?

Vertical farms are increasing around the world, promising a new, environmentally friendly way to grow crops with no soil and to feed the rapidly growing populations of cities worldwide, thanks to emerging technologies.

Vertical farming as a sustainable agricultural practice is important. Innovative solutions for urban agriculture, if scaled up, can be an answer for future food scarcity while developing sustainable food production patterns.

To help create a bright future for people and the planet, the UN established global goals for sustainable development. These interconnected goals aim to tackle the most pressing challenges we face as a global community including, but not limited to, climate, resource scarcity and poverty.

Around the world, data-driven technologies are being used to keep indoor farming afloat. Detailed, real-time data collected via artificial intelligence, location services and IoT technology is used to analyse and produce better feeding models and optimal configurations, i.e. the concentration and scheduling of light and ratio of nutrients.

The good thing about vertical farms is that it can be built in new or existing buildings and provide significant benefits in environmental sustainability and human health, minimizing the need for water and nutrients, and eliminating pesticides and fungicides, which are no longer needed.

Video Credit: SANANBIO

3 Types of Vertical Farming System

1. Hydroponics - the predominant growing system used in vertical farms, hydroponics involves growing plants in nutrient solutions that are free of soil. The plant roots are submerged in the nutrient solution, which is frequently monitored and circulated to ensure that the correct chemical composition is maintained.

Typically liquid solutions will contain macronutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as trace elements, including iron, chlorine, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, and molybdenum.

2. Aeroponics – this vertical farming method grows plants in an environment that is primarily air or mist. Aeroponics does not require any liquid or solid medium to grow plants in.

An aeroponic system is by far the most efficient plant-growing system for vertical farms, using up to 90% less water than even the most efficient hydroponic systems and requires no replacement of growing medium.

3. Aquaponics - this vertical system combine plants and fish in the same ecosystem. Fish are grown in indoor ponds, the nutrient-rich wastewater from the fish tanks is filtered by a solid removal unit and then led to a bio-filter, where toxic ammonia is converted to nutritious nitrate.
While absorbing nutrients, the plants then purify the wastewater, which is recycled back to the fish tanks. in turn, filter and purify the wastewater, which is recycled to the fish ponds.

Commonly this system is used in smaller-scale vertical farming, most commercial vertical farm systems focus on producing only a few fast-growing vegetable crops and don’t include an aquaponics component.

Through this innovative approach of farming can get as much as 350 times the produce out of an acre of land compared to conventional farming, using 1% as much water

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