Russia introduces vertical farm pilots at symbiosis center

This week, ITMO Highpark JSC signed an agreement on the pilot implementation of intelligent vertical urban farms at ITMO Highpark. The signing occurred as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). The project will be based on the principles of industrial symbiosis with subsequent recycling of organic waste. This green approach to farming will not only ensure economic growth but also improve the region’s quality of life and its environmental state.

Andrey Nazarov, CEO of ITMO Highpark JSC, said: “The Foundation will provide its partners on the project with a wide range of connections in Russia and abroad, as well as consulting services, technologies, and specialists. The Cleantech Cluster has confirmed its members’ readiness to serve as contractors to help commercialize innovative, cutting-edge technologies in the field of industrial symbiosis, to provide methodological, consulting, and expert support as we implement the industrial symbiosis model.”

The project will be implemented in several stages. First, it will be necessary to prepare the land lot on the ITMO Highpark premises; then, an industrial symbiosis center will be constructed along with a pilot urban farm for organic farming. The final stage will include the installation of a reactor that will convert organic waste into energy, heat, and compost for the urban farm.

Nikolai Pitirimov, a representative of the Cleantech Cluster, said: “Industrial symbiosis uses the same principle as natural symbiosis, wherein two organisms partner up for mutual benefit. Industrial and natural logic are combined in industrial symbiosis to provide a range of benefits to all participants. The goal of this process is to bring together companies from different fields to turn one’s waste into another’s resource. For instance, excess energy or materials from one production can become useful resources for another.”

Daria Kozlova, ITMO University’s First Vice-Rector, said: “Exchange of knowledge in green technologies is the foundation of economic evolution. ITMO Highpark will be the frontier, the “eco-testing ground” for future widespread integration of the industrial symbiosis concept. It’s important to us that we duly take into account the parties’ opinions when implementing this project, as our experience will be a launch point for an altogether new stage of development for Russian metropolises.”

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