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Sweden: Pushing resource utilization improvements in vertical farming

"With this project, we're aiming to experiment and identify light recipes for different plant types to achieve high yield while consuming low energy for lighting. This has always been the biggest challenge in vertical farming, and it is all the more important now with high energy prices," says Jayanth Venkatachala, co-founder of EcoBloom, a Swedish agtech that's based in Stockholm.

In collaboration with IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, a prominent organization dedicated to advancing sustainability and environmental solutions, Nära Sverige and EcoBloom are working together on a research project that focuses on enhancing vertical farming's resource utilization and energy efficiency. Nära Sverige, formerly Urban Oasis, is a Swedish vertical farming company supplying leafy greens, Pak Choi, and herbs to communities all across Stockholm.

Proud to join forces with the prominent Swedish organization, Jayanth explains that IVL is at the forefront of research, innovation, and policy development in Sweden. They work collaboratively with government, industry, and academia to address pressing environmental challenges, from climate change to pollution control. Committed to evidence-based solutions, IVL plays a vital role in shaping Sweden's environmental policies and fostering a greener country.

Using EcoSense in this research project makes the information easily accessible, as Jayanth points out. "Seeing results and recommendations visualized on a dashboard allows you to pinpoint specific parameters and act quickly. When tools like this aren't being used during experiments, sometimes results may be seen as "open for interpretation" or interpreted differently by different people of various experience levels in vertical farming. Also, the use of multispectral imaging and our type of cameras is not so common as well. The experiments that can be done using EcoSense are not limited to energy from lighting, but it's a good place to start."

Improving resource utilization
Together with representatives from the University of Bologna, IVL is conducting experiments involving various lighting designs, such as altering photoperiod and light intensity and adjusting lighting wavelengths and recipes to maximize quality and productivity. Through these trials in Nära's farm, using EcoSense, we aim to gain insights into optimizing yields, introducing new species, and potentially conserving energy and resources.

As the Ecobloom co-founder shared, this collaboration between Ecobloom Technologies, Nära Sverige, and IVL represents a strong synergy of expertise and resources in pursuing sustainable indoor farming practices.

"As of right now, we can make preliminary recommendations of photoperiods based on one cycle's data. Ultimately, this partnership empowers growers with real-time data, actionable insights, and sustainable practices, creating a model for the future of CEA that benefits both the industry and the planet," says Jayanth.

"EcoBloom is always open to new ideas and collaborations in vertical farms. We would love to help from technology needs to facilitating R&D experiments in farms."

For more information:
Jayanth Venkatachala, co-founder