When it comes to the world's largest vertical farm, many people naturally think of AeroFarms in Newark, New Jersey. Now, however, Dubai will build a larger vertical farm.
EKFC, a subsidiary of Emirates Group, recently announced that it has invested $40 million with another vertical farm operating company based in the United States, Crop One Holdings, to build a giant in the Dubai World Center (DWC) near the ABC International Airport. An indoor farm that will break the world record of vertical farms.
Upon completion, the vertical farm covers an area of 18.11 mu, with an output equivalent to 5463.2 mu of farmland. In the case of full production, the facility will harvest 2700 kilograms of high quality, herbicide free and pesticide free green leafy vegetables every day, and the amount of water will be reduced by 99% more than that of outdoor planting.
At present, 85% of the food consumed by the UAE depends on imports. The arid natural environment of the United Arab Emirates makes it unsuitable for farming, and this green facility can use less water to allow the desert country to realize the self-sufficiency of food products.
Earlier this year, Dubai started the first commercial vertical farm, owned by a Saudi businessman and a British agronomist, and used hydroponic technology and LED lights to grow green vegetables such as radish, Brassica kale, mustard, basil and sesame vegetables in a controlled indoor environment. The UAE plans to increase its agricultural productivity to meet demand in the next few decades, and the expectation of global warming will worsen extreme weather events.
His royal highness, President and chief executive officer of the United Arab Emirates, said: "the announcement of this project is of great significance to the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. The establishment and operation of the world's largest vertical farm coincide with the UAE's vision of a greater degree of self-sufficiency in agricultural production. This vision has been established since the founding of the United Arab Emirates and the late emperor Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al of Arabia. The innovative technology introduced by the farm will further consolidate Dubai's position as a global innovation centre. "
Sonia Lo, chief executive of the Crop One Holdings company, said: "our successful business model has achieved long-term profitable output over any other large vertical farm. We use the finest planting science and efficient business models to provide the market with daily high quality agricultural products. After 10 months of research, the air and Food Department of the United Arab Emirates chose to cooperate with us to confirm the success of our business model, that is, the use of patent technology and process to maximize crop production and gain high yield. "
Emirates aviation food department and Crop One company representatives
Vertical farms use science and technology to control every link in the environment, including temperature, humidity, light, water and plant nutrition. The custom LED growth lamp simulates the solar spectrum. The vegetables are cultivated with nutrient solution. They are planted in the room without the threat of insect pests. Therefore, the demand for pesticides is eliminated and the plants are obtained. The best growth condition.
The geographical proximity of the farm to the consumption area will also significantly reduce the carbon emissions from transportation. At the same time, this ensures that fresh produce can be delivered to customers quickly within a few hours after harvest, ensuring the freshness and nutritional value of vegetables.
The vertical farm construction is scheduled to start in November 2018 and will take about a year to complete. The first batch of products is expected to be delivered to Emirates catering customers in December 2019, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges.
It is worth mentioning that Crop One Holdings is a leading global vertical farm operator, and its FreshBox farm in Massachusetts has been profitable, and is now a small number of American commercial indoor agricultural companies. Another profitable company is the famous AeroFarms, who can produce 2 million pounds of farm produce every year.
Crop One Holdings CEO Sonia Lo (Sonia Lo) said, "some people know how to improve lighting, pallets, control systems, batching systems - our focus is as many as possible." It is reported that the method of FreshBox is carried out around the container. On this farm in Massachusetts, the company supplies 38 supermarkets in Boston. Whether cabbage, sesame or sugar beet, their 12 cash crops are grown in their containers by hydroponics. The farm now has 15 containers and one Mod - each Mod module is equivalent to 9 containers.
The environment inside each container can be optimized according to the corresponding crops, but the whole network is monitored and adjusted by the same set of science and technology systems. Sonia Lo said that by planting in separate containers, FreshBox could optimize the yield of each crop.
She said that it was because of the modular system that the company was able to make profits 23 months after its establishment (they formed 3 years ago). "Since we adopt modularity mode, we do not have to wait for the whole farm to be built to generate revenue." Sonia Lo said, "once we have one or two containers, we can start planting." "We are far beyond the technical stage of most vertical agriculture." She said.
Now, FreshBox is still planning to build more farms. The company will continue to iterate and try various technologies to develop more efficient systems. "Do not enter the industry unless you want to be big." Sonia Lo said.
So far, Crop One has raised $16 million and completed a $10 million A round of financing in December 2017.