Denmark is building the largest vertical farm. It will be powered by the wind and grown by robots. It can help the environment by improving food production and distribution.
The global population has constantly been growing. Therefore, there is an increasing and pressing need to find ways to produce more food, which is higher quality and uses fewer resources. Modern-day innovative technology can be of great help in this regard. An example is the one that comes from the so-called vertical agriculture, i.e. the cultivation of products through the use of LED lights within a highly controlled environment, therefore with a significantly lower amount of water, space or fertilizer compared to traditional agriculture.
Behold- The largest innovative marvel in the world of cultivation
Vertical farms have existed worldwide for a decade, from Singapore to the United Kingdom to the United States. The largest vertical farm has opened in Taastrup, an area just outside of Copenhagen, in December. It spans 7,000 square meters of space and 14 levels of shelving on which 1,000 tons of agricultural produce is expected to grow annually. It has 20,000 special LED lights, active 24 hours a day, which will allow the collection of products fifteen times a year.
How will the vertical farm function?
In this futuristic farm, the work will be carried out by small robots on wheels, which will carry the seeds to the various rows of shelves. Combined with intelligent software, the sensors will monitor and process more than 5,000 different parameters, such as the LED light’s intensity concerning the plants’ growth stage. No pesticides will be used, while water and fertilizers will be recycled.
This means that the crops cultivated here will be of better quality in being free of harmful chemicals. If we consider the irrigation factor, this vertical garden will again prove its worth. The vertical garden is conceptualized and designed to use only 1 litre of water per kilogram of product for growing it. It is a quantity 250 times lower than what is used in traditional methods of growing crops.
The wind will generate electricity to power the LED lights. In Denmark, in fact, almost half of the total energy comes from wind power and, for this reason, the creators of the agricultural society have opted for the use of this sustainable energy source.
“100% of the energy we use is from wind, so we don’t produce CO2,”Anders Riemann, Founder and Executive Director of Nordic Harvest, the company that owns the vertical farm.
What does it mean for the future of energy consumption?
In all likelihood, it will not be possible to grow everything under the sun on these innovative farms. Their production is mostly limited to vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, etc. But one of the essential things is that you can grow the same quantity and quality of crops all year round, redefining the very meaning of zero-kilometre food.
In the Swiss Institute for Disruptive Innovation, we constantly connect disruptive innovators going the extra mile to bring meaningful and sustainable change in the world. We believe the time has come for more innovative ideas to help humankind push its limits and achieve greatness.
Agriculture practised through vertical farms, therefore, can be useful to humanity both at the table, improving the production and distribution of food, and for the environment, thanks to less use of space, water, pesticides and, above all, of the fuel needed to transport food products on ships or planes from one part of the planet to another.