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€5 million for Dutch vertical farming research

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is to receive more than €8 million from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and participating bodies for two major research programmes, one involving tower garden systems using LEDs and the other focussing on improvements in the welfare of pigs and chickens. A third project, with WUR as a partner, is about sustainable fresh water management in the Dutch delta.

The recipients of the so-called Perspectief round 2019 funding were announced during the annual ‘Teknowlogy’ event hosted by NWO’s Applied and Engineering Sciences domain.

Tower gardens using LEDs
Sky High, a research programme led by Professor of Horticulture & Product Physiology Leo Marcelis, which aims to bring about a revolution in vertical farming, received a total grant of €5 million.

"The increasing world population needs to be fed, while more and more people live in cities, there is often too little water, and we want our vegetables to have more and more nutritional value. By growing plants in layers on top of each other and illuminating them with special LED lights, you can produce fresh vegetables all year round, anywhere in the world, and under all weather and climate conditions," says programme leader Prof. Leo Marcelis.

Researchers working on the Sky High programme will cooperate with lighting specialists, plant breeding companies, growers, horticultural technology companies, architects and food suppliers to make vertical agriculture systems cheaper and more energy-efficient. Another aim is to produce vegetables and herbs that taste better, have longer shelf lives and provide more nutritional value, while using the absolute minimum of water and fertilisers and no pesticides.

Other participants
Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), Bayer, Bosman Van Zaal, Certhon, Fresh Forward, Grodan, GrowX, HAS University of Applied Sciences, OneFarm, Own Greens, Priva, Signify (Philips Lighting), Solynta, TU Delft, Eindhoven University of Technology, Unilever, Leiden University, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, and Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten.

Source: Wageningen University & Research

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