Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




The green promise of vertical farms

Indoor farms run by AI and lit by LEDs can be more efficient than field agriculture, but can they significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

by Harry Goldstein

I emerge from the Tokyo Monorail station on Shōwajima, a small island in Tokyo Bay that’s nestled between downtown Tokyo and Haneda Airport. Disoriented and dodging cargo trucks exiting a busy overpass, I duck under a bridge and consult the map on my phone, which leads me deeper into a warren of warehouses. I eventually find Espec Mic Corp.’s VegetaFarm, in a dilapidated 1960s office building tucked between a printing plant and a beer distributor. Stepping inside the glass-walled lobby on the second floor, I see racks upon racks of leafy green lettuce and kale growing in hydroponic solutions of water and a precisely calibrated mix of nutrients. Energy-efficient LEDs emit a pinkish light within a spectral range of 400 to 700 nanometers, the sweet spot for photosynthesis.

I’m here to find out how plant factories, called vertical or indoor farms in Western countries, can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional field agriculture. According to the World Bank, 48.6 million square kilometers of land were farmed worldwide in 2015. Collectively, agriculture, forestry, and other land uses contributed 21 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, per a 2017 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, mostly through releases of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.


Publication date: 6/5/2018

 


 

Other news in this sector:

6/22/2018 Mid-winter greetings from the Antarctic greenhouse
6/22/2018 Strawberries grown in Singapore vertical farm make debut
6/22/2018 CAN (AB): Lettuce Lads look to hydroponics in valley
6/19/2018 US (NV): Indoor farming industry takes root in Las Vegas
6/19/2018 "The need to optimise growing conditions goes beyond just light"
6/19/2018 Purdue-affiliated startup travels to Togo to teach hydroponics
6/18/2018 Aussies invent automated vertical farming system
6/15/2018 US (OK): Grow filter brings sustainable agriculture to vertical farming
6/14/2018 UF/IFAS researcher to experiment with algae in space
6/14/2018 "Indoor farms could fine-tune the flavours of our food"
6/13/2018 Liberia gets aquaponics unit from UNMIL, FFDC
6/12/2018 Senior Tesla executive joins Plenty
6/12/2018 South Africans learn about vertical farming in Scotland
6/11/2018 US (NY): Shepherding vegetables from roof to restaurant
6/11/2018 UK: Students' veggies lit up by gear confiscated from cannabis gangs
6/8/2018 UK: 5.120 m2 indoor farm comes to North Lincolnshire
6/8/2018 US (VA): Plants with a Purpose supports urban ag at VSU
6/8/2018 Belgium: ECLO produces micro-vegetables at Abattoir’s
6/7/2018 South Africa: Aquaponic farming project ticks all the boxes
6/7/2018 Antarctic greenhouse yields 120+ harvests