AmplifiedAg, an indoor agricultural technology company focused on the CEA category, is supplying a fully enabled vertical farm laboratory for an international CEA wastewater research project being conducted by Clemson University in South Carolina and Gyeongsang National University (GNU) in South Korea.
Interdisciplinary agricultural and science research professors from both universities are collaborating on the project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program to repurpose wastewater into nutrient-rich water to effectively grow plants inside a modular controlled environment agriculture (CEA) farm. The modular indoor farms use significantly less water and, when integrated with a closed-loop wastewater recycling system, have the potential to create more sustainable food production systems for urban communities across the world with little access to fresh water.
To enable the project, AmplifiedAg is constructing a multi-container hydroponic vertical farming lab with fully integrated software and growing technology. Utilizing AmplifiedAg’s CEA platform, “the system researchers are developing would use an anaerobic membrane bioreactor to filter harmful contaminants out of wastewater while leaving behind nutrients that fertilize plants,” as described in Clemson University’s announcement of the project. “Researchers aim to design a system that would benefit any urban or suburban community, and they see particularly high promise for application in impoverished cities and disaster zones.”
“The initiative to repurpose wastewater into useful irrigation for indoor agriculture is an incredibly important area of focus, and we are proud to supply the technology to enable the effort,” says Don Taylor, CEO of AmplifiedAg.
“With our planet’s rapidly changing climate, and many regions of the world suffering from limited access, resources, and ability to grow fresh food, we need diligent, innovative solutions to create and maintain the food supply for current and future populations. For me, one of the most exciting aspects of modern agriculture and CEA is the progressive improvement that technology enables, and what Clemson and GNU are undertaking will provide valuable insights and applications for our company and the CEA category at large,” adds Don.
AmplifiedAg’s modular vertical farming format, advanced technology systems, and cloud-based software continue to be selected as a platform for scientific research and education in the controlled environment agriculture category. In addition to supporting this wastewater project, the company is also the technology provider for the USDA-ARS CEA Center of Excellence, where the agency is conducting extensive indoor farming research analysis and reporting over the next several years.
The vertical farming lab will be delivered to Clemson University’s campus in the Spring of 2023, where the wastewater research project will be conducted, and findings will be published over the course of the next two years. “I hope we will end up having a system that will make growing food with recycled water safer, more cost-effective, and ultimately more sustainable, in the sense that carbon dioxide emissions are decreased, that the energy costs are decreased, and that the actual costs, dollars, and cents are decreased,” says David Ladner, an associate professor of environmental engineering and Earth sciences at Clemson. Watch the video interview with David Ladner and other research professors on the project as they describe how the project brings together research in wastewater and sustainable agriculture to create safe food for human consumption.