“Our technology is modular and suitable for various business models across a whole host of industries. Each GrowFrame has ten panels with 325 holes, equipped with its own irrigation system, dialable LED lighting, automation, and sensors. This means we have the ability to create tailored solutions based on individual business needs,” explains Jaz Singh, founder and CEO of Innovation Agri-Tech Group.
Innovation Agri-Tech Group (referred to as IAG) recently hosted Vertical Farm Daily at its 10,000-square foot purpose-built aeroponic facility in Berkshire, west of London. IAG aims to make vertical farming accessible by designing scalable, flexible technology based on a modular system. To do so, IAG has patented its “vertical framework of aeroponic growing modules” called the GrowFrame.
Focus on removing barriers to entry
Unlike many vertical farming technologies which rely on hydroponic systems, IAG specializes in indoor vertical aeroponics, using 70% less water than in hydroponics.
All this is part of IAG’s mission to make vertical farming and the future of farming more accessible by helping growers design, build and manage vertical farms that balance operational and capital expenditures. By using aeroponic irrigation and closed loop water recycling to provide water and highly precise nutrients, businesses will be able to capitalize on up to 17 harvest cycles per year – all with healthier root systems and superior crop growth.
For a product like rocket, that equates to around 500kg produced per panel per year. IAG’s understanding of which crops will thrive and create the greatest return on investment, alongside its commitment to working with clients to conduct feasibility studies, creates a genuine point of difference from other vertical farming technology.
“It can be scaled up to include hundreds of our patented GrowFrames or work just as effectively for smaller businesses that don’t need such high quantities of crops produced,” explains Jaz. “We hope the technology we’re creating will allow the grower to quickly see the return on their investment.”
“The key for us is to help our clients scale up and expand in a controlled manner and identify the areas where spending a little more upfront can be beneficial in the future. Taking LEDs as an example, you can spend a lot in capital expenditures upfront and experience reduced operating costs. Or you can purchase a lower-cost light which may be less efficient, thus cost you more in operating costs,” explains Jaz.
Red Tractor certification to guarantee food safety
According to Jaz, IAG is also breaking barriers with the Red Tractor certification, a food safety certification in the UK. IAG was one of the first vertical farms to receive this certification and pass the benefit on to its partners by performing yearly audits to ensure compliance and helping its partners become certified. With the Red Tractor certification, vertical farms have increased access to UK supermarkets and can receive a higher price for their products.
Bringing vertical farming to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals
In addition to its various food projects underway, IAG is also collaborating with cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. This further demonstrates the flexibility of IAG’s patented GrowFrame technology and the broad reach of vertical farming.