The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
New research facility to advance vertical farming
Scotland’s role in the advancement of the vertical farming movement took another step forward yesterday with the launch of a new research and development facility at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) campus at Invergowrie.
Farm technology company, Liberty Produce, unveiled a £500,000 Innovation Hub for Controlled Environment Agriculture (IHCEA) which is intended to tackle some of the issues surrounding the establishment and cost of vertical farming, and help accelerate the development of sustainable food production through fully-controlled systems.
Liberty Produce cofounder and director Zeina Chapman said initial researchonthesitewas focused on increasing yield and decreasing the capital and operational costs of state-of-the-art agriculture.
She added: “At the moment vertical farming is only viable for high-value crops such as herbs and micro greens. Large volume crops such as leafy salads are still more expensive under this system than being grown in the ground.”
She added that initial research would focus on the development of intense, energy-efficient lighting systems and integrated water cooling.
The hub was funded by Innovate UK through the agri-tech centre, Crop Health and Protection (CHAP).
CHAP chief executive, Fraser Black said it was a prime example of the mission to harness gamechanging ideas to solve the problems being faced by the farming industry.
The JHI site already hosts Intelligent Growth Solutions Ltd, a vertical farming company which has won significant investment funding since it was launched last year.