The Advanced Crop Dynamic Control (ACDC) project, led by LettUs Grow in partnership with Fotenix, Rothamsted Research, CHAP, and Vertically Urban, aims to revolutionise Total Controlled Environment Agriculture (TCEA) in the UK.
This nearly million-pound initiative, supported by Innovate UK with £757,151 funding, focuses on developing sustainable, energy-efficient indoor farming systems. Utilising image-based analysis, AI, and software, the project seeks to optimise growing environments based on plant health and market dynamics.
Key to the project is tackling TCEA inefficiencies to improve energy usage, crucial for both cost and sustainability. The consortium's approach includes novel TCEA methods to enhance environmental control, targeting lighting, irrigation, and nutrient supply, thus reducing the carbon footprint.
Automation plays a vital role in this initiative, aiming to improve produce safety, consistency, quality, and shelf-life. The project features an integrated spectral imaging system and AI-based plant screening technology by Fotenix, informing illumination intensity and energy management, with a focus on renewable energy sources.
Ostara, a software platform developed by LettUs Grow, will control these aspects, prioritising plant health and creating greener production recipes. Spinach, chosen as a test crop, symbolises an alternative protein source, opening new markets.
The project's impact will be assessed against operational benchmarks, with CHAP conducting demonstration trials to showcase operational efficiencies and contributions towards Net Zero goals.