“The newly opened hybrid farm precinct is estimated to generate approximately $7.5 million in annual sales, contributing to Green Plus’s performance in 2024,” says Steve Kim, CEO and Managing Director of Green Plus Australia, a supplier of CEA facilities.
Green Plus Co. Ltd. officially commissioned a hybrid farm system comprising 1.5 hectares of vertical farm precinct, with an additional 4000m2 of R&D space and a Kimchi production facility. All facilities are operated by Green K-Farm (a Green Plus subsidiary) integrated vertically stacked layers using inter-lighting, moving gullies, and automation to cultivate an array of produce.
“Given the prevalence of various vertical farm systems and companies globally, including those in Korea, only a few have effectively commercialized their technology, demonstrating economic viability. Our semi-closed greenhouse structure and passive automated system serve as a cost-effective solution, reducing building expenses, minimizing energy consumption, and, most importantly, enabling us as a manufacturer and technology provider to offer an affordable product to meet the escalating demand for vertical farming,” Steve adds.
Lettuce production inside the farm
Hybrid: the golden combination
A unique feature is the up-down gully, as Steve explains, which allows the growing channel to move vertically and expand the growing surface area. Allowing for proper movement of the crops, the system accommodates transitions of seedlings to germination, the transplantation of young plants in their vegetative growth cycle, and eventually harvesting. This eliminates the need for access space between rows and reduces labor costs massively. Designed for year-round production, Green K-Farm will cater to the Korean domestic market and online stores.
“Implementing the proven hybrid technology enables more efficient environmental control with less energy costs compared to enclosed vertical farms. Given the flexibility of Green Plus’ patent-pending cultivation system, which consists of modular grow beds, the system can easily facilitate alterations, such as new crops, without implementing drastic modifications to the system,” Steve explains.
Besides leafy greens, strawberry plants are cultivated vertically too
Supplying to major Korean retailers and e-commerce platforms, the farm is ready to meet its takers. “Presently, our year-round cultivation entails chives, covering 50% of the greenhouse as it’s a crucial ingredient in Kimchi (a traditional Korean vegetable dish), and the remaining space caters to various leafy greens like lettuce, basil, and coriander. We will produce strawberries in the summer season, given the limited number of growers in this particular season due to elevated energy costs.”
Two distinct hybrid greenhouses are positioned alongside the commercial greenhouse, serving as testing grounds for various environmental research initiatives and the refinement of optimal growing systems for diverse cultivars.
Today, Green Plus has over 30 ongoing projects with universities around the world, including MAFRA (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Administration) of South Korea.
Drawing global attention
Green Plus is not only bound to Asia but has also drawn attention from the Middle East, the United States, and Australia. Picking up on that, Steve says, “That’s because our projects have proven to be economically viable and effective. While our research regarding HVAC solutions for closed indoor farming facilities is underway, we received inquiries from vertical farms to apply our solutions there.”