Tungsram’s headquarters in Újpest is now home to a vertical farm built for research and development purposes. The installation, based on cutting-edge technology evoking sci-fi movies, is bound to be a crucial factor in ensuring food security in the future. Partly funded by the Hungarian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM), the farm was inaugurated by State Secretary László György and Tungsram's President & CEO Joerg Bauer.
Tungsram’s vertical farm in Budapest was partly financed by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology as part of the “Indoor agriculture – setting up a vertical farm” project.
Occupying a production area of 150 square meters, the farm boasts a hydroponic system where microgreens and baby leaves are grown exclusively under artificial, LED lighting. The solution renders such variables as the amount of sunshine and weather conditions irrelevant. Although it has a commercial size, the focus of the facility is R&D, which makes it unique in Central Europe. The farmhouses two growth chambers where the research activity takes place and the company utilizes the results achieved here on the commercial-size farm.
“The cost of the development was 575 M HUF; 43.7% of which (250 M HUF) was provided by ITM. Both the concept and the development of the farm are 100% Hungarian,” said State Secretary of ITM László György at the ceremony. The farm was developed by KÉSZ Group in commercial partnership with Eisberg and using the biotechnology expertise of Biopólus Zrt. The lamps and technology were provided by Tungsram’s Nagykanizsa and Hajdúböszörmény plants. “Currently the facility provides work for 9 people, mainly researchers. Going forward, vertical farms will offer new, value-added job opportunities nationwide,” added the state secretary. “The goal is for Hungary to claim back its original position as one of the five biggest agricultural research countries based on its knowledge.”
Tungsram can present the technology and the results achieved on the farm (quantity, color, taste of plants) to future customers as the main goal is to sell and build similar, complete farm systems for growers.
The company cooperates with several Hungarian universities and plans to expand these relationships. As this technology is worthy of being naturalized in Hungary and introduced to the experts of the future, the idea of outsourcing a university faculty to Tungsram was also brought up during the negotiations. Tungsram’s lamps for indoor farming are currently being tested at the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands, the University of Reading in the UK, and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute known for its standard certificates.