“Vertical farming is a great answer for food security worldwide, especially in locations where the climate makes it hard to grow plants in or in mega cities.”, says Gabriele Puccetti with the Goat Project.
Their product ENVI-BIO VF is a newly patented vertical farming system, now in line for funding to start agronomic testing and the industrialisation of the module.
The module has multiple floors that provide plants with everything they need: water, nutrients, lights (LED), pumps, sensors, WI-FI communication, and a pH corrector. The module itself is a micro, self-sufficient vertical farm.
The all-inclusive costs are £470 per net vegetative square meter. The production costs for lettuce, when energy costs £79 per MWh, are 0.29 per head and 1.93 per kilogram.
21,000 tons per year can be harvested out of 15,000 square meters, per year, and 105,000 tons from 75,000 square meters. “This is why we are a revolution in industrial vertical farming,” Gabriele adds.
When the tests have been done and the system is ready to be sold in the industry, in the first year a demo plant close to the EXPO 2020 location in Dubai will be set up. Here, people who are interested in vertical farming can visit it and see the machine at work.
The biggest challenge for vertical farmers is the high production cost due to the high investment and electricity needs, and labour costs. Over the last years, many solutions have come to the market, many of them with a lot of financial help by venture capitalists.
There is a big market for vertically produced products, so it’s easier for farmers to enter this market. “We have an innovative solution to lower the area and maximise the production, so we lower the production costs.
"All this thanks to a low cost structure, automation and no workers needed inside.”