“In this industry, we hear a lot about LED lights and AI controls, but you get fewer people talking about the mechanical equipment side of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) because it is simply more challenging,” says Erika Summers, a well-known CEA consultant, and engineer.
Historically, mechanical concerns like building structures, HVAC systems, and the like haven’t received much airtime in public chats about vertical farming. But with the industry currently in the midst of a massive correction, many are starting to realize the impact these systems can have on production, not to mention costs.
Summers (ES), who runs her own CEA advisory firm, is also a mechanical engineer who has worked with many indoor farming clients on HVAC systems and other building considerations. AFN recently sat down with her to discuss the mechanical side of vertical farming, what her dreams for CEA are, and why you can’t, in fact, build a vertical farm anywhere, despite what the Yes Men might say.
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