The system also maximises energy use to help reduce growers’ carbon footprints
Spotted: By 2030, the global vertical farming market is predicted to be worth more than $27 billion (around €24.7 billion), up from a value of $5 billion (around €4.6 billion) in 2023. That jump reflects the world’s growing population and increased urbanisation. Crops grown indoors can improve the resilience of supply against extreme weather and other events, helping to boost local and regional food security. Being able to grow vertically also makes it possible to cultivate fresh produce in densely populated urban areas, thereby reducing transport miles and emissions.
A key challenge in this type of farming is the energy required to regulate air temperature and operate the lights required to maximise the efficiency of plant growth. Germany’s Crocus Labs designed a highly efficient LED light system for indoor growing to help reduce the energy needed to grow crops in greenhouses and vertical farms. Called Sirius X 0.2, the proprietary chip technology provides customisable lighting recipes for each crop, an intelligent power converter, and a system of sensors that monitors crops throughout the growing cycle.
The power converter maintains maximum efficiency in lighting the plants with the desired recipe, and the algorithm gathers general crop and growing data. The Crocus Labs’ consultancy team helps farmers put that information to use by adding automation to various processes and tweaking growing plans as needed based on yields.
The company is continually adapting and testing new light recipes and seeks partnerships with growers interested in trialling new crops to help expand what is possible to grow in indoor environments. An updated version of the chip, called Sirius X 0.3, is planned for release later in 2023.
Vertical farming is becoming such a broad opportunity for communities that Springwise is spotting innovations in the archive ranging from trying to grow new crops, like saffron, indoors to training prisoners to become the indoor farmers of the near future.
Written By: Keely Khoury