Worldwide Local Salads, led by Grahame and Matthew Dunling, have developed a new way to light vertical farms. This method greatly reduces the energy needed on a vertical farm by a minimum of 40% while also providing more uniform light at a higher intensity yet without increasing heat conditions to the plant. This also leads to reduced cooling and installation costs as fewer sockets and cabling are required, which in turn leads to lower capital needed. On a typical 1,000 m2 system, this averages out at £250 K Capital savings + Opex saving of 1,800 kW per day.
This method is the work of trials they ran during the last 12 months as they wanted to reduce one of the biggest challenges vertical farms face.
Matthew - “This year has probably been the straw that broke the camels back for most of the vertical farms, with energy costs skyrocketing, the biggest expenditure in the industry doubled or even tripled. That’s why we looked at how to combat this expense without compromising crop quality.”
Their method lends itself to growing multiple crops, including flowering crops such as chilies, strawberries as well as lettuce varieties, basils, and micro greens, all under the same lighting.
Coming from the commercial greenhouse industry, they knew to grow inside a warehouse, you had to imitate and yet improve the outside conditions for the plants, such as lighting, climate control, air movement, etc. Each plant type needs slight variation in these conditions to improve yield, flavor, and texture to give a quality product with a shelf life for the retail market and consumer.