Vertical Farming With Plantagon & Tongji University


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below):

Allow me to introduce you to a wonderfully innovative project that truly reflects the spirit of “Necessity is the mother of invention“, below.

Did you know that there are over 7 billion people residing on planet earth at the moment (Please refer to World Population Clock)? By 2050, that number will have increased to 9+ billion and nearly 80% of the earth’s population will be residing in urban centers. They will require an additional chunk of arable land the size of Brazil in order to grow enough food. Furthermore, the potential loss of coastal property due to rising sea levels, crop loss from drastic weather related incidents, and the need to reforest large swaths of land in order to sequester CO2, these are all good reasons for motivating human kind to investigate toward a new agricultural technique, the vertical farming!

The vertical farm is a fantastic solution that automates the production of food in a more sustainable manner, reducing waste, pollution and carbon emissions. It is not meant to eliminate traditional rural farming but simply to reduce the strain put on the land, allowing some of it to return to nature and forest. Apparently, for each indoor acre farmed, 10 to 20 outdoor acres of farmland could return to their natural ecological state (which in most cases is hardwood forest).

To name some of the eco-benefits  of local and urban vertical farms for our planet earth: 1. No pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and no pollution injected into waterways because vertical farms will rely on peat and/or hydroponic organic farming techniques.

Hydroponic farming (Hydroponic Onions, NASA,wikipedia)

2. Eliminating the need for heavy machinery and farming equipment responsible for a significant amount of agricultural emissions because vertical farms will be highly efficient and densely built. 3. Irrigation water will likely come from treated rainwater, grey or black. Efficient use and reuse of water inside the farm and recycling water will help to reduce the water use. 4. Indoor controlled growth eliminates crop loss due to weather and natural disasters such as flood, drought, or hurricanes.5. Environmental impact resulting from shipping will practically be eliminated. 6. Green tech jobs will be dramatically increased for growers, researchers, technicians, vendors, etc.

A Swedish-America company, Plantagon, has recently developed a vertical farm in the shape of a glass geodesic dome containing an urban greenhouse, leading the way in producing organic and functional food in urban area, cutting costs and environmental damage by eliminating transportation and delivery. Curvature of the glass allows varying amounts of sunlight to penetrate through according to the angle of incidence. The company Plantagon is working with Sweco (a consulting engineering firm) to calculate how much sun will reach the interior ramps as the seasons and the sun’s position in the sky change. Although much needs to be figured out, Plantagon  envisons major cities adopting their greenhouse concept, featuring a large spiraling ramp that will provide the necessary space for food growth and production. Plantagon innovation consists of having succeeded in eliminating the need for artificial lighting through a transport system which moves the cultivation boxes from floor to ceiling in a slow pace helically. The natural lighting that is available then distributed evenly to the plants. Let’s take a look at the video of this innovative vertical greenhouse of Plantagon, below:

The company is behind a project with a vertical greenhouse, built in Linköping.  Sustainable cities have also provided financial support to carry out a feasibility study for the possible establishment of a vertical greenhouse in Botkyrkavägen.  Internationally Plantagon in collaboration with Tongji University in Shanghai established Tongji Plantagon Research Center, which opened in April 2013.

Plantagon greenhouse was elected in February 2009 in the Globe Forum Sustainable Innovators 100 list.  Plantagon greenhouse was one of 50 Swedish inventions that were showcased in “The spirit of innovation room” in the Swedish Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010 .

Truly, the Homo sapiens have once again come up with a brilliantly appealing solution to one of the human plights…and it is done with such style…I can even envision Plantagon or future vertical farmers requiring different pieces of classical music to be streamed through the dome shaped glass greenhouse (well nourished by the sunshine) that will ultimately feed not only the body but also the mind and soul of mankind. What a lovely place to work in, full of oxygen, music, and sunshine….

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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