Creating a complete dataset in vertical farming solutions
May 10, 2021
Stacked growing beds full of leafy greens under artificial light and in a mesmerising mist. That’s the description of an indoor vertical farm at LettUs Grow. It’s their mission to bring the point of production closer to the point of consumption and enable anyone to grow food anywhere. This will reduce the waste and carbon footprint in fresh food production. With their vertical farming solutions they aim to boost the indoor farming industry. Analysing data is key to their mission.
Find a place in the food supply chain
Ricardo Lopes in an indoor vertical farm container.
Ricardo Lopes is a plant researcher for LettUs Grow. He started out in the greenhouse industry and switched to vertical farming. He saw that the last 5 years more and more people are starting to take the innovative approach of vertical farming more seriously. Ricardo is testing a large variety of crops in the LettUs Grow system.
A controlled environment
In such a controlled environment, Ricardo relies on various data sources. He needed a place where all these different sources come together, so he could do quick checks on climate data. LettUs Grow needed a platform to provide a realistic image of the climate inside the vertical farms.
“Where we need high quality climate data, we use 30MHz.”
“We had a good data set for what the farm was doing, but reliable and constant climate data was something we didn’t have at the beginning. Now we have everything. We can check data back to the minute in the 30MHz platform. It’s useful to see the fluctuation during tests with different levels of temperature and humidity, for instance. The 30MHz platform is a visual way of spotting any problems or spotting if something did go wrong. It made it a lot easier.”
Horticulture is more and more dependent on data
For LettUs Grow it’s all about optimisation of the controlled environment. To optimise it they need a lot of data and a reliable perception of what is happening inside the vertical farms. “That’s only possible when you have decent sensors and all your data in a digital place”, says Ricardo. “Horticulture is more and more dependent on data and what data tells us.”
LettUs Grow and Ricardo are optimistic that vertical horticulture will find its place in the food supply chain. “Maybe not next year, but maybe in 5-10 years we can deliver a decent amount of fresh produce worldwide. Not replacing another system, but complementary. Especially in big cities.”
Pointed Micro Climate sensor
This sensor uses leaf temperature and temperature humidity measurements to continuously capture microclimate at close range. Use data from the sensor to better determine heating needs, cutting unnecessary energy expenditures and lowering the risk of plant fungus and disease.
A lot of our customers use this sensor for measuring VPD and dew point.
Maximise growing rates, minimise the environmental impact
LettUs Grow provides technology for vertical farms and greenhouses. The British company combines indoor farm management software with their own aeroponics technology. In their soil-less system the plant roots are suspended in a nutrient rich mist. It’s a recirculating system which makes it resource efficient. Because of the controlled environment there is no use for pesticides. The system is created to maximise growing rates, while minimising the environmental impact.
LettUs Grow and Ricardo are optimistic that vertical farming will find its place in the food supply chain. “Maybe not next year, but maybe in 5-10 years we’ll be able to supply a significant amount of fresh products worldwide. Not replacing any other system, but complementary. Especially in large cities.”
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