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“The efficiency is 1 to 400”

by Graeme Hammer

The technology of the future for the vertical cultivation of crops indoors – “vertical farming” – has been researched and developed for five years in Dornbirn, Vorarlberg. A functional production unit is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2023. The Heron group of companies is investing ten million euros in it and possibly wants to grow plants itself, according to ORF

The self-contained vertical farming system is controlled by cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in an energy- and resource-efficient way and thus manages with a fraction of the land and energy needed in agriculture. It can produce year-round at any location, regardless of weather and climate, and without pesticides. Water consumption is reduced by 95 percent in the process.

“We produce the same amount in the netted area as regular agriculture does on a whole soccer field. The efficiency is 1 to 400,” says company founder Christian Beer. He adds that emissions from production are also reduced by more than 90 percent. This is because vertical farming can be operated in the middle of urban centers, which massively shortens supply routes.

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