Indoor Plant Factories

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Indoor Plant Factories

A vertical indoor hydroponic vegetable farm, growing many rows of butter lettuce, basil, mint and other herbs. This is a modern and space- as well as water-efficient way of producing food in a soilless manner.

Many countries lack the land mass or infrastructure to produce high-quality produce, so they’re bringing traditional agriculture indoors and underground, using high-tech robotics, irrigation, and lighting systems to cultivate food. In the U.S., 80 Acres Farms is building a fully automated indoor farm the size of one-and-a-half football fields just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Japan leads the world when it comes to indoor plant factories, with more than 200 now up and running. The government subsidized many of these operations, and they thrive thanks to Japanese consumer demand for fresh, local, pesticide-free food. Near Kyoto, the Kansai Science City microfarm uses artificial intelligence and collaborative robots to raise seedlings, replant, water, adjust lighting, and harvest fresh produce. In Kameoka (also near Kyoto) a company called Spread uses machines and robots to cultivate plants to produce between 20,000 and 30,000 heads of lettuce per day. It may take only 40 days for plants to mature before they’re shipped to nearby supermarkets in Japan. Plants thrive elsewhere in the world, too. In California, Iron Ox built a fully autonomous, hydroponic indoor farm that uses two robots to plant, maintain, and harvest produce. Those two bots can do the equivalent of 30 acres of outdoor farming in just a single indoor, automated acre.