Strawberries, green chards, small pine trees, basils, and whatnot are orderly nested on growing trays under LED lights, stacking up skywards into six-meter high towers. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ vertical farming exhibition during COP26 in Glasgow provided a good understanding and look at the advanced technologies and innovations in food production and potential transformation towards decarbonization and sustainability in agriculture.
IGS publicly announced its £42 million Series B fundraise amidst COP26. Originally aiming for 15 million, the one-year fundraising process attracted interest from general and family funds looking for sustainable investments, such as COFRA AG (Switzerland), Cleveland Avenue LLC (Chicago), and DC Thomson (Scotland). This growing enthusiasm is strengthening the case of CEA as a sustainable investment, while much remains to be done. The CEA industry should engage in current developments in the context of sustainable financing, particularly the globally significant EU Taxonomy, to promote CEA solutions.
A wider, more diverse, and well-trained employee base comes with more opportunities seized at all levels. Andrew Loyd, COO of IGS, already has some plans as to where to apply these new funds and human resources.
- Climate change will directly affect communities around the world to meet their food demand, the safe supply of which CEA can help to bring consistency and reliability.
- All stakeholders of this emerging industry are in dire need of more knowledge and experience to grow more plants indoors. This will also unlock new markets with different pallets.
- As a technology provider, IGS is also focused on making its growth towers more deployable, flexible, and scalable for the customers’ specific needs and demands.
"The success of IGS over the past two years also relies on indoor-growing technologies and innovations. IGS’ lighting technology provider, Osram, commercializes LEDs called “three-phase” lighting systems. This allows for enhanced energy efficiency (up to 40%), the light’s granularity, and interesting synergies with renewable energy grids," says Dave Scott, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of IGS.
The LED technology is at the core of the modularity and the flexibility of IGS’s VF system, explains Scott. He has been working on the entire system for over 8 years and knows all its ins and outs. He stresses that light granularity is one of the key elements of growing plants indoors.
For Dave, more than developing better industry 4.0 solutions in CEA, the real improvement potential lies in deepening the knowledge of plant biology. The seeds, crops, stages of growth, and different types of stress reactions remain mysterious. “The variables are infinite,” he adds, highlighting IGS’ research projects to broaden the understanding of growth recipes and find new ones.
Read the complete article at www.farmtechsociety.org.