Ever since February, YASAI has started to collaborate with fenaco, Agroscope, and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as project lead in an Innosuisse research project.
Specialists of all partnering institutes work on improving the sustainability, quantity, quality, and profitability of YASAI's vertical farming operations. The 3-year project will be supported with an investment of close to 1 million. Swiss Francs sourced from industrial partners and Innosuisse.
With the Innosuisse project, YASAI aims to demonstrate the feasibility of sustainable vertical farming integrated into the smart cities of tomorrow. Reducing costs and anchoring sustainability in their production model are key targets. Research results should affect the quality and affordability of YASAI's products.
Local food for the future
The following fields of research will be performed to secure future local food production; sustainability, quality, packaging solutions, and profitability.
The Ecotechnologies and Energy Systems Research Unit, ZHAW, focuses on circular sustainable solutions in the fields of resource management, energy, and ecosystems, by closing water and nutrient cycles.
Project leader Dr. Zala Schmautz says: "Our team will focus on reducing the environmental footprint of YASAI by investigating substrate quality and selection of light and fertilizer profiles. The impact of these sustainability aspects will be evaluated using the lifecycle assessment (LCA) method".
Agroscope, the Swiss Institute for Agricultural Research, will focus on the improvements of yield and quality, as well as a comparative study of different crop cultivation systems, led by Agroscope executive member Dr. Christoph Carlen.
The Food Packaging Research Group, ILGI of the ZHAW, aims to develop sustainable and innovative packaging technologies. The team around Prof. Dr. Selçuk Yildirim will emphasize selecting sustainable packaging materials, processes, and designs without compromising the quality of the products.
In cooperation with fenaco and the Institute of Natural Resource Sciences of the ZHAW, YASAI will work on improving its farm's profitability to create a business opportunity for farmers.
"The key to profitability lies in scalability and automatization of the processes. We currently produce relatively small volumes and selected products but aim at increasing these step by step", says Daniel Schwab, the project leader of vertical farming at fenaco.
For more information:
Mark Essam Zahran, Co-founder and CEO