Vertical farming in controlled environments offers a safe way to grow plants with minimal effort. This high-tech cultivation method, compared to traditional agriculture, provides an efficient technique of plant production in a shorter time. Automation allows for planning, management, and business control.
Let’s explore the automated elements in Hydropolis vertical farming systems.
Hydropolis technology is delivered through two systems: SMART CROP and Plantainer. Regardless of the chosen production model, it is customized based on the customer’s capabilities, such as available space, demand, and the type of cultivated plants.
1. SMART CROP is a scalable production system implemented in spaces up to 2000 m2, such as halls or warehouses. Plants grow on dedicated supporting structures selected according to the building’s cubic area.
2. Plantainer is cultivation in a shipping container. The farm can be launched on almost any surface and offers the flexibility to change the cultivation location (it’s a mobile solution). A typical container dimension is 12x3m.
Both systems (SMART CROP and Plantainer) are delivered with developed cultivation recipes. They enable expedited workflow and minimize human involvement.
To ensure healthy plant growth, their requirements differ depending on the production purpose, whether it’s for processing or as a fresh potted plant. The parameters such as weight, size (height), and dimensions of the pot should be determined.
Regardless of the distribution method, it is essential to provide the plant with conditions for rapid and healthy growth, including proper lighting, optimal temperature, humidity levels, and necessary nutrients.
Cultivation recipes are responsible for maintaining ideal conditions for vertical farming, enabling the production of high-quality yields while optimizing resource efficiency.
Automation not only ensures the proper irrigation and nutrient levels, but it is also responsible for monitoring parameters in the main reservoir, including oxygenation (adequate oxygen level in the water), temperature (its level), pH, and EC.
The nutrient solution is prepared in advance and heated to the appropriate temperature. Its quantity is maintained at a constant level, while its composition may vary. The amount of macro and micronutrients dissolved in the water depends on the production stage. The automation system independently doses the indicated amount of nutrient solution based on the algorithm.
The growth and development of plants are impacted by the quantity of light they receive during specific time periods and its spectrum, which varies based on the selected plant species.
In Hydropolis vertical farming, automation ensures the activation and deactivation of lights at designated times. Other automated processes include controlling the duration of illumination and ensuring the appropriate Daily Light Integral (DLI) for the plant, which refers to the amount of light that reaches the plants within a 24-hour period.
Vertical farming is carried out in isolated chambers where plants are provided with optimal growth conditions, including temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration, and air circulation. The controlled atmosphere system enables the consistent production of healthy plants with high carotenoid content and low nitrate concentration, without the use of pesticides.
One of the greatest challenges facing traditional agriculture is ensuring efficient and sustainable production that meets market demands and satisfies the food necessities of a growing population.
Automation in agriculture can help achieve this goal by increasing labor productivity, optimizing resource consumption, and minimizing environmental impact.
At Hydropolis’ vertical farm, users initiate cultivation through the GROW WIZARD programming. Hydropolis’ proprietary software works closely with specially selected sensors and valves along the production line to maintain the desired growing conditions.
Implemented automation helps avoid human errors. The installed early warning system prevents damage and malfunctions. The cultivation owner has access to the conditions maintained on the production line from a single device. Grow Wizard is a convenient solution that facilitates decision-making regarding production scaling and business development.
Hydropolis technology elevates the level of agricultural efficiency, providing a response to the necessary changes in the food production system.
Shortening the food delivery time to the end consumer is one of the objectives set forth in the European Union’s “Farm to Fork” strategy.
Plant production in vertical farms can take place within urban agglomerations. This is made possible by creating optimal growth conditions in specially isolated environments. During cultivation, no plant protection substances such as pesticides or herbicides are used, eliminating potential risks to the environment and human health.
Currently, the R&D experts at Hydropolis are focused on the development of herbs, lettuce, and microgreens. Research is also underway for cultivating strawberries. In the future, there is potential for expanding the cultivation algorithms to include new recipes tailored to meet the specific needs of customers.
Vertical farming in Hydropolis technology aims to increase productivity while minimizing environmental impact. Cultivation methods are constantly being refined to optimize production time and utilize available human and technological resources in the most efficient manner.
Automation of selected processes is an integral part of modern agriculture. In our R&D center, we have developed cultivation algorithms that enable efficient production of high-quality selected plant species. The developed cultivation algorithm ensures production consistency, resource efficiency, and time savings.