GE Current, a Daintree company, has joined forces with Green Build Systems Ltd (GBS) to help make vertical farming a more sustainable, productive, and profitable opportunity for growers and other businesses who may wish to produce their own year-round crops such as herbs and leafy greens.
Current’s Arize Lynk2 horticultural LEDs will be a crucial element in GBS’s vertical farm builds, designed from the ground up to solve the key challenges facing the widespread adoption of vertical farming today, most notably energy consumption.
The GBS vertical farm design has been created in consultation with engineers, plant scientists, and other experts to be as low-energy as possible, starting with the physical building “envelope” that meets stringent Passive House standards for heat conservation. As lighting and HVAC systems tend to place the greatest energy burden on vertical farms, by reducing the requirement for active heating and cooling, whilst employing tailored horticultural lighting that maximizes yields and minimizing energy consumption, growers can maximize profit from their crops and even run their farm off-grid using solar panels.
Alexander Pearce, Founder and CEO of Green Build Systems, commented: ”For many growers, vertical farming has only been considered commercially viable at a huge scale. Our goal is to make it accessible to anyone who wants a hyper-local supply of fresh, premium-quality ingredients, from hotels and restaurants to schools and colleges, to growers supplying local shops. Our approach will allow a more widespread pursuit of productive urban farming leading to greater food security and a lower environmental footprint. To achieve this vision, we have to work with the very best like-minded partners, and not only do Current’s values align perfectly with our own, but when we put the Arize Lynk2 through its paces, it stood head and shoulders above the competition.”
Low-energy, high-performance lighting for vertical farms
Designed for multi-layer, indoor vertical farming of herbs, leafy greens, and microgreens, the Lynk2 features a long, 54,000-hour lifespan to L90, backed by Current’s five-year warranty. The fixtures themselves are also designed to reduce landfill waste, using recyclable materials and minimal silicon to further reduce Lynk2’s carbon footprint.
Growers can select one of nine tailored spectra, including two new broad-spectrum options that simulate natural sunlight to create a more comfortable working environment for those on-site. With an energy efficiency rating of up to 3.2µmol/J, 0-10V dimming, and a larger light-emitting surface area than the previous generation, thus requiring fewer luminaires to cover the same growing area, the Lynk2 is up to 15% more efficient than the first generation Arize Lynk, and is ideal for operations where sustainability and productivity are paramount.
Fast, sustainable, accessible urban farming
GBS’ modular vertical farm system has been designed in multiple sizes, with a fully-operational 20ft demonstration farm located in Doncaster, which has a similar capacity to that of a 40ft shipping container. Two additional farms are also planned for Kent in early 2022. Thanks to the flexibility of the modular design, a fully-operational farm can be built off-line or on-site in approximately two weeks. Elements of the build can also be delivered in sections to accommodate tighter spaces such as underground car parks or crowded cities, making it easier for vertical farming to fit into evolving urban planning.
Farmers who are looking to repurpose old buildings and diversify their operations can also take advantage of GBS’ bespoke design and build services, helping them boost the profitability of their farms by continuing to supply high-quality products for the local community.
Malcom Yare, Horticulture Commercial Leader at Current, commented: “Vertical farming is gathering global momentum as the world calls for greater food security and more focus is on factors like quality, taste, and food miles. GBS has addressed some of the critical challenges facing the widespread adoption of urban farming: creating an insulated “envelope” that prevents heat loss and reduces the need for proactive cooling, and also creating a modular design that is quick and easy to construct, with high-performance growing systems to maximize the productivity of the space.”