Vertical Farm Produces Greens in a Circular Environment
One of Europe’s largest vertical farms is up and running in a 7,000 square-meter warehouse near Copenhagen, producing lettuce and herbs vertically and powered by wind.
In 2050, there will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth — about 3 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010. We will need 56% more food in 2050 to feed all, but at the same time, we need to prevent agricultural land from expanding as we currently use 50% of the world’s vegetated land for agriculture. Rethinking methods of producing food is thus a necessity.
In a carefully controlled environment, Nordic Harvest, a Danish company specialised in vertical farming, produces salads and herbs on 14 floors in one of Northern Europe’s biggest vertical farms. The method used works as a closed ecosystem and has several advantages. It is e.g. possible to harvest all year round, uses significantly less water and limits the use of pesticides or fertilisers.
A recirculated food system
The farm will produce 1,000 tonnes of salads and herbs a year, when fully developed, on an area equivalent to a large football pitch. The plants grow in a 100% circular environment where everything is recycled and cleaned. Once the water has passed the plants, it is cleaned and sent back into the plant. With 100% control of their water usage and nutrient uptake from the plants, nothing is wasted. This means that 90-95% less water is used compared to the usual amount in agriculture.
The sow and harvest happen 15 times a year and produces 1000 tons of green in 100 times less space
Electrifying Danish agriculture
Because the plants do not have to fight against nature in the form of wind and weather, do not have to use force to pull nutrients or water out of the ground or fight pests, they grow faster. In fact, they only spend 2-3 weeks growing from seed to finished plant. This means that Nordic Harvest can sow and harvest in a continuous process 15 times a year and produce 1,000 tons of green in 100 times less space than if grown in the field.
The facility runs on 100% certified wind energy and adapt – with custom-made LED diodes – both light spectrum and brightness, so that the optimal photosynthesis is created in each individual plant type.
Vertical farming shows how Denmark is now innovating within agriculture and technology fulfilling a great need in relation to rethink production methods and make crop production more sustainable.