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Spanish pharmaceutical giant puts Growtainer into operation

After installing the first international Growtainer in the UK last year, GreenTech Agro is expanding its presence in Europe with the recent installation of another Growtainer at Spanish biotechnological giant Bioibérica.

The Growtainer is the brainchild of Glenn Behrman, founder of GreenTech Agro and CEA Advisors. Two years after introducing his first Growtainers for sale in 2014, Behrman has now installed another EU Growtainer at the factory of leading Spanish pharmaceutical company Bioibérica in Pallafols, outside of Barcelona. Their enthusiasm for the Growtainer and vertical production has been driven by their interest in new, modern and sustainable indoor farming practices. They will use the Growtainer to produce leafy greens, herbs and vegetables for their canteen at the factory site, in order to gain more hands on experience with indoor growing.

"Bioibérica is a forward thinking company that is committed to discovering new technologies and industries", said Behrman. "They are open to new innovations and other industry angles that have a potential for capitalization.”

For the Bioibérica project, Behrman collaborated with Dutch horticultural installer Stolze, whose team transformed the used shipping container, outfitted by RCC Container Trading, into a vertical farm. After the installation at the Port of Rotterdam, the Growtainer was shipped to Spain where Behrman and an expert crew from Stolze completed the delivery with a final installation last week.

Proprietary technology

Inside Bioibérica's Growtainer there are a total of 12 Growracks divided into two separate production chambers. Ten of the Growracks have 4 layers and will be used for regular cultivation, and two racks with 5 layers each will be used for propagation.

Besides having a dedicated proprietary technology for ebb and flow irrigation installed, the Growracks are equipped with Philips GreenPower LED Generation 2 production modules, which are specifically designed for multilayer cultivation in conditioned environments with no daylight. The LED modules ensure a uniform light distribution across the shelves, which means that every plant receives the same level and quality of light.

The irrigation in the Growtainer is divided into six separate zones in order to provide flexibility and allow a wide variety of production of crops at various growth stages. Behrman worked closely with Stolze's engineers to design a sophisticated control system to manage the irrigation, climate, humidity and CO2 levels inside the Growtainer. The entire climate and crop control can be managed remotely via a computer or mobile phone.

Canteen & Research

Bioibérica will grow several crops inside the Growtainer, in the first place to supply their nearby canteen with everyday fresh and safely grown veggies. "They will use it to feed their employees first and gain indoor farming experience with it. While this is an important objective of the installation, Bioiberica is laser focused on the potential advances in their Bio stimulant products.  They are excited to incorporate the Growtainer’s state of the art technology based production capacity for further research within their existing business models."

Behrman, who has a long term background in horticulture, has gained a lot of experience with technology based production and container farms over the past few years. "Thanks to the close cooperation with Stolze, VK Pro and RCC Containers, the Holland built Growtainers have become a real state of the art, completely proprietary system. While there are currently many other individuals in the US that offer shipping container farm systems, none of them is as flexible or sophisticated as this one, because this Growtainer version has focused on and tried to improve everything everybody else is trying to do."

Financing and substantial support

At the moment Behrman is continuing to improve the Growracks and building more Growtainers for clients in the United States. "But we have many other exciting plans to announce soon", said Behrman, not only referring to the several new installations in process. "We are almost ready to announce a more manageable crop specific Growtainer for the beginning farmer, with financing and a substantial support system in place, an onsite production initiative with a major US Supermarket Chain and other projects which focus on the highest and best economic use for this exciting and evolving technology.” 

For more information: 
CEA Advisors - GreenTech Agro
Glenn Behrman (e-mail)

Publication date: 9/7/2016
Author: Boy de Nijs



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