Water becomes scarcer, yet plants are as thirsty as always. On top of this, there is also an energy crisis going on that makes operating an indoor farm even more complex than it usually is. To address these increasingly pressing challenges, the company SmartOasis has developed a container farm that utilizes fogponics, capable of transforming 1lt of water into 200 cubic meters of misting nutrients. But mainly, co-founder Aleksey Prykhodko invented a water recapturing technology, combined with fogponics can radically reduce water needs for plants production.
“After some research, we found out that a lot of countries use 70-80% of their water for agriculture, depending on how developed said country is,” he says. Aware of how fragile the food chain can be, Aleksey came up with a fogponics container farm design, as well as water recapturing and solar panel technology.
Turning 1l into 200m3 of mist
Aleksey explains that the SmartOasis container farm allows for an even greater reduction in water consumption than aeroponics usually does. This is achieved thanks to a combination of the way water is recaptured and the transformation of the water into mist in a special tank. "Our farm system recaptures the water from air moisture and utilizes that to water the plants,” he explains.
There’s an additional catch to that though, as SmartOasis has also created a proprietary nutrient solution that can be mixed with the recaptured water. “In this way, the farm can be self-sustaining. From 1lt of water, we can make 200 cubic meters of misting fertigation water, which is ‘sprayed’ over the plants from the ceiling of the container. We call this fogponics.”
According to Aleksey, fogponics is much more efficient than ‘classic’ aeroponics, as the latter requires a lot of internal tools to supply water to plants. “There are a lot of tubes, nozzles and pipes that need to be constantly filled with liquid, else they get damaged. With fogponics, this doesn’t happen as fertigation is carried out through the mist that is sprayed on top irrigating roots of plants. With our tech, we can create smaller droplets than in regular aeroponics.”
Increased intensity of plant growth is achieved due to complex air control (temperature, humidity, CO2 and light) and regular watering of the plants within the mist, consisting of micro-dispersed particles of water with nutritions and oxygen. Each farm can produce a wide range of crops - berries, veggies, herbs, and spices, providing healthy fresh food.
SmartOasis container farm is not all about recapturing water, though. Every single detail can be thoroughly controlled, such as water temperature and CO2 level, which can be adjusted, just like the lighting system. Aleksey continues to explain that the farm tech is so efficient that it can be adjusted to grow a different crop within 2-3 hours.
“With our farm, a grower can jump from one crop to another super smoothly. This helps producers to assess the market, and decide which crop is more convenient to grow at a given time: they can grow all types of greens, but also berries, mushrooms, and so on.’’
Smart Oasis Farm is a fully automated vertical farming solution independent of external water supply. The farm is mobile, easy to move and quick to install, based on isothermal insulated shipping containers. Smart Oasis Farm is scalable. Several vertical farms can be easily merged together and extended to grow more and different types of food. This solution allows growing food with high productivity on 50-times optimized space in urban areas or even deserts.
Also, they have a building-based solution that can produce various fresh organic foods in any type of premises in any climate zone.
The Ukrainian company is active internationally, especially in those countries that struggle the most with water resources. “We have clients in the Middle East, and generally speaking there’s a lot of interest in our solution in that region. But we are also active in Northern Europe, as our farm can be used in any climate zones.”
SmartOasis has clients in Ukraine who keep operating despite the Russian invasion. “They are still working normally, despite the invasion, as those projects are underground farms. This is something that our system can achieve too.”
At the moment, the company plans to enter the North American market to find partners and customers.