Controlled Environments for Urban Farming.

According to this United Nations article, an additional 2.5 billion people will live in urban areas by 2050, an increase from 55% to 68% of the global population living in urban areas. Delivering fresh, nutritious and sustainably grown food to the urban market will be a major challenge. The acceleration of urban farming as a partial solution to this problem is one that many people feel will help offset some of the challenges of sourcing food from traditional farms that are typically located further away from cities.

One of the keys to successful urban farming production is the type of cultivation facility in which fruits and vegetables will be grown. There are many factors that have to be considered when designing an urban farm. Some of the key questions are:

  • How much land is available?

  • How much sunlight is available?

  • Does it rain a lot?

  • Does it snow?

  • What are the temperature fluctuations?

In this Horti Daily article, “The Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research is working on a decision support framework for cultivation system, crops and production planning of urban growing.

Most of the environmental factors above can be managed by adapting the grow structure design and optimizing the cultivation inputs with available technology. For example, if land is scarce then vertical farms can be designed; if light is plentiful then greenhouse designs can be used; if the temperature is too hot and the facility needs to be cooled, venting is an option; etc.

However, when it comes to optimizing yields with CO2, the majority of cultivation systems and designs to some degree lack optimal CO2, whether it is inefficient use, limited use, or no use at all of this important input. Until now, additional CO2 has traditionally been applied to plants by gassing into the grow area atmosphere.

For vertical farms in a sealed room, gassing CO2 is inefficient as the gas is heavier than air thereby providing more CO2 to the lower layers than the upper layers. For sealed greenhouses, during the warmer months when venting is required to reduce the temperature in the grow areas, gassing CO2 results in the gas escaping outside. For facilities in climates where it is always warm, venting is a continual state of operation thereby making CO2 enrichment through gassing impossible. A lack of optimal CO2 can leave up to 30% more yield on the table.

CO2 Delivery Solutions™ enables ALL cultivation designs and grow facilities to provide CO2 enrichment by misting an aqueous CO2 solution directly on to the plants, regardless of the facility design. When deciding on how best to design and operate a cultivation facility in an urban setting, enhancing food production in an environmentally and economically sustainably way can be made more feasible by utilizing CO2 Delivery Solutions™.

For more information, please visit co2delivery.ca

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