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"Our R&D Lab helps fine-tune and automate all the in- and outputs of plant production"

"I think the CEA market will grow rapidly over the next years. It can be the solution for a lot of problems we will be facing in the future. Increased demand for food due to the rapid growth of the global population and simultaneously having less space due to climate change like the rise of the sea level or fruitful regions turning into deserts, just to name a few. Hence global warming will be a huge challenge for a lot of regions on our planet where the classic way of agriculture will just not be possible anymore. We can see a lot of these challenges already happening," says Caspar Schmiereck, Customer Relations Manager at  Photosynthetic, a subsidiary of Rift Labs. He has also developed a system that is one of the first fully automated production systems for rearing insects. 

Caspar Schmiereck

Meteorological disturbances like storms, floodings, or fires have already destroyed a lot of our planet's yield this year worldwide. It is an easy bet that these challenges will become tougher over the years, and CEA, and especially vertical farming, can play a massive role in solving problems like food security. Furthermore, CEA enables countries or persons to be self-sustaining and can guarantee high-quality products. Photosynthetic can contribute to this a lot by making players in the CEA sector much more profitable, turning a global challenge into an opportunity.

Ever since 2022, Caspar has been working at Photosynthetic as a Customer Relations Manager, and we talked to him about the industry and the future of CEA.

The benefits of using software, hardware, and AI for CEA?
The benefits of combining software, hardware, and AI in CEA are immense and help to achieve better growth and yield. Simultaneously reducing the costs in terms of labor, R&D, and energy. It guarantees you full control over your system and is able to develop and scale up at the right time in the right way.

Honestly, Photosynthetic's solutions would have made things a lot easier for my previous company and projects. That is why I am enthusiastic about our endeavor. Photosynthetic would have saved my former company a lot of time and resources. A lot of players in the industry will benefit massively from Photosynthetic's solutions and expertise.

How things brought him here
As Caspar has always been interested in entrepreneurship, and during his studies, he read a lot about sustainability and circular economy, in which he saw and still sees a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

"The massive ecological footprint of the animal protein industry is well known - yet insects, as a new and more sustainable source of animal protein compared to the existing ways of rearing cows, pigs, or chickens, was an opportunity I could not let pass." 

Also, he continues, the European Union passed the Novel Food directive in order to push the market for alternative proteins like insects. Hence, in 2018 a friend and Caspar founded a company to produce insects in a fully automated, scalable, and controllable system.

According to EU law, insects must be reared in a controlled and closed system. So, for them, it was an obvious choice to go for a fully automated vertical farming system controlled by AI to be more efficient and competitive. During the development, they faced a lot of challenges because of all the different parameters they had to pay attention to.

"Some of them we knew from existing literature, and some we had to find out the hard way. That challenge of perfectionating such a system with the help of smart technologies fascinated me immensely, and this is exactly what Photosynthetic is working on every day. A perfect match for me," he adds. 

The potential of CEA
Caspar sees a lot of potential in CEA. However, according to him, there are also still a lot of challenges in perfectionating the CEA systems.

"This is exactly what Photosynthetic can help with. Either with our R&D Lab that helps to fine-tune and automate all inputs and outputs of plant production. This helps growers to reduce energy costs, achieve higher yields, and improve the product for the consumer. Or, our farming management software increases yield, optimizes production efficiency, and reduces energy consumption using our advanced software control and data management system." 

In short, Photosynthetic does R&D, software, and lighting technology. Altogether, aiming to increase yield and optimize production and scale processes.

"I have the pleasure of working with highly motivated and skilled enthusiasts that keep inspiring me. Photosynthetic brings together experts from all fields who are open to learn, explore and grow. A unique setup in this industry that helps us work efficiently.

For more information:
√ėyvind Hasund Dahl, Chief Revenue Officer