“We can ensure cost-effective growth with our systems, however that cannot be true in every geography today,” says OnePointOne’s CEO, Samuel Bertram.
“Not only does vertical farming technology have a long way to go before ubiquity is realized. However, energy prices and indoor-specific cultivar development are also nascent in their journey. Much like Tesla, vertical farming must first pursue low-volume, high-price products to reach meaningful bottom-line profitability and business model sustainability. Then, we shall all ride the incredible cost-curves that we’re already experiencing.”
Located in Silicon Valley, OnePointOne builds a technologically advanced cultivation platform through innovations in automation, AI and plant science. The company makes use of vertical-plane aeroponics, because according to Samuel aeroponics is known to be the most resource-efficient way to cultivate plants. “Moreover, growing on a vertical plane improves gaseous exchange, packing factor and automatability. We believe vertical-plane aeroponic cultivation is the most efficient and productive way to grow plants,” he says.
OnePointOne’s technology provides phenotyping capabilities. Phenotyping requires the ability to not only acquire environmental data about the plant’s experience of the world but also imagery of the plant during all phases of its life. “Since these cameras are hyperspectral (and will eventually include LiDAR data), we have quite a unique ability to understand the plant in tremendous detail. What’s fantastic about this imaging system is that it will be deployed in all of our production systems, not just our Plant-Science facilities,” Samuel affirms.
“One of the most difficult challenges of vertical farming is the speed of validation. Experiments cannot be run overnight, and often it requires multiple cultivation cycles before something can be called ‘reliable’. Also, unlike the 10,000-year-old traditions of outdoor farming, the literature and cumulative human knowledge of vertical farming is comparatively slim. It will take time and collaboration for that to turn around,” says Samuel.
According to Samuel, the benefits of OnePointOne’s system over hydroponic systems for instance are its data and literature. “Point to aeroponics being the fastest, highest-quality and most resource-efficient form of cultivation,” he says. The corollary to this is that it is also the most difficult form of cultivation. OPO chose to take the risk of developing vertical-plane aeroponics from the ground up. Samuel adds: “It took years, but we are certainly now seeing the benefit of much, much happier roots.”