World's First Hydraulic-Driven Vertical Farm Produces 1 Ton of Vegetables Every Other Day
Designed by engineer and entrepreneur Jack Ng, Sky Farms runs on a so-called Sky Urban Vertical Farming System and is also heralded as "the world’s first low-carbon hydraulic driven urban vertical farm."
What does that mean? Well, for such a modern and innovative idea, Sky Greens actually uses good ol' fashioned rainwater and gravity. Using a water-pulley system, 38 growing troughs rotate around an A-shaped aluminum tower that's about 9 meters (about 30 feet) tall. The rotating troughs ensure even distribution of natural sunlight for each plant.
Not only that, the same water used to turn the troughs also nourishes the plants. According to the company, "With the plants irrigated and fertilized using a flooding method, there is no need for a sprinkler system thereby eliminating electricity wastage, as well as water wastage due to run-offs."
"Only 0.5 liters of water is required to rotate the 1.7 ton vertical structure," the company boasts. "The water is contained in a enclosed underground reservoir system and is recycled and reused." Additionally, only 40W electricity, or the equivalent of one light bulb, is needed to power a single 9 meter tower.
The farm consists of 1,000 vertical towers and produces 800 kilograms of Chinese cabbage, spinach, kai lan and other greens everyday for the bustling Southeast Asian metropolis, according to The Straits Times. The farm has been producing vegetables commercially since 2012.
Check out the image below to see how it works.
— Gardening DIY Life (@GardeningLif) July 23, 2015
Sky Greens' vegetables do cost slightly more than fare from traditional farms. "A 200g packet of Sky Greens xiao bai cai costs $1.25, while a 250g bag of Pasar brand xiao bai cai from a traditional farm in Singapore costs 80 cents," The Straits Times reported.
However, the publication also pointed out the freshness factor: it only takes four hours for Sky Greens' produce to hit the shelves versus the three days to three weeks that imported vegetables require.
Vertical farming is ideal for densely packed cities such as Singapore, which only produces about 7 percent of the vegetables it consumes. Its 5 million inhabitants occupy a total land area of only 275 square miles. (To compare, Los Angeles is twice the size of Singapore with a population of 3.8 million). With this lack of land, nearly 93 percent Singapore's "fresh" produce is imported. The Sky Greens solution not only cuts the distance that food has to travel to get to plates, it helps ensure Singapore's food security and helps the local economy.
In the video below, Ng explains how the system works and why it's ideal for Singapore, a city with limited land resources.
Last month, the Sky Greens took home the INDEX: Award 2015 in the "work" category. The prize, one of the most prestigious in the design world, recognizes innovations that help improve the world.
The Sky Urban Vertical Farming System was given the award for representing "the next generation of sustainable urban agriculture" and for proving that "vertical farming can compete with, and produce better results than traditional farming," the award jury said in a statement.
"Moreover," the jury added, "it is a scalable design that can be implemented almost anywhere in the world, and has the capacity to ensure more food supply resilience across the globe, as well as preserve the world’s natural resources."
Jury member Simona Rocchi, the senior director for sustainable design at Philips, called the system "a brilliant combination of high-tech and great design thinking.”
As for how Ng will spend his €100,000 Index prize? “I [will] use this recognition as a platform to inspire young designers, architects, entrepreneurs to contribute their ideas, ideals and passionate energy to meet the global challenge in food production sustainability as well as my peers and contemporaries (I am 51 years old—half a century!) to follow my example by investing in the next generation with their experience and resources," Ng said in a statement.
"Specifically, I would also like to encourage more people with good scientific and engineering knowledge to apply their expertise to transform agriculture and save our environment," he continued. "At the same time, I would like to demonstrate that it is important that as long as you adopt the spirit of serving the greater good of customers, community or even the entire human race, success can follow.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Bill Maher is sick of billionaires' obsession with Mars, more like "Mars-a-Lago," he said.
In a new animation produced by ATTN:, the popular talk show host of Real Time, discusses the perils of our planet, including how "climate change is killing us."
A group of prominent climate scientists have written a study explicitly refuting statements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on climate data. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Pruitt claimed in a written response that satellite data shows a "leveling off" of warming over the past two decades.
By David Pomerantz
The Nevada Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would dramatically increase the growth of renewable energy in the state, but Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and major donor to Donald Trump, is attempting to prevent the bill from becoming law.
By Yosola Olorunshola
Whether it's through fashion or protest, Vivienne Westwood is not a woman afraid of making a statement.
On May 23, she rocked up to the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in London with a special guest—the Grim Reaper—to issue a strong statement on the Church of England's position on fracking.
By Paul Brown
The food industry and big agricultural concerns are driving climate change and at the same time threatening to undermine efforts to feed the world's growing population, according to GRAIN, an organization that supports small farmers.
Particularly singled out for criticism are the large chemical fertilizer producers that have gained access to the United Nations talks on climate change. GRAIN accuses them of behaving like the fossil fuel companies did in the 1990s, pushing false information in the hope of delaying real action on climate change.
By Sydney Robinson
By John Rogers
Maybe it's because I first started working on clean energy while serving in the Peace Corps he founded, or maybe it's my years of working on these issues from his home state. But I can't help thinking about the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, and connecting his stirring rhetoric to the energy challenges of our times.
Here's what our 35th president might have said about the challenges of energy transition and the opportunities in clean energy:
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Wednesday in its 2017 annual review that the solar industry alone provides more than three million jobs worldwide, and projected that the renewable industry could employ 24 million people by 2030.