A team at Fraunhofer IKTS now wants to bring horticulture to the cities with efficient and compact water, energy, and gas management—and thereby strengthen regional self-sufficiency.
"Instead of transporting thousands of tons of vegetables and fruit, we want to bring the greenhouses to the consumers," says Prof. Michael Stelter, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden.
"Our goal is to work with medium-sized companies to set up such small plants at numerous locations in Germany." These compact, efficient greenhouses could be set up on house roofs or smaller open spaces, for example, and—in order to save space—could even be laid out on top of each other on several levels.
The entire technology from a single source
The institute offers all the necessary technology from a single source: irrigation water and nutrient recycling, heat and moisture management, lighting, and sensor technology—to provide perfect care for the plants. "In our institute, we have developed many of the components required for this in recent years. In addition, we have the knowledge from other projects in energy and environmental technology to integrate the various technologies into an automated and fully digitalized overall system," says Michael Stelter.
In this way, the institute would like to enable small and medium-sized companies, in particular, to enter this market segment or help companies already active in this industry to expand their portfolio. Existing indoor farms can also be supported in operating more successfully economically through leaps in efficiency.
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