About 12% of the 1.05 million square meters (11.3 million square feet) of the 202 story skycity will be vertical organic farm, parks and open air gardens. It will be 930,000 square feet (86,400 square meters or over 21 acres). The entire Skycity project is to cost about $1.5 billion (9 billion yuan). There will also be 26,880 square meters of indoor park and 8000 meters of open air gardens.
Indoor farming can produce crops year-round. All-season farming multiplies the productivity of the farmed surface by a factor of 4 to 6 depending on the crop. With some crops, such as strawberries, the factor may be as high as 30.
The crops would be sold in the same infrastructures in which they are grown, they will not need to be transported between production and sale, resulting in less spoilage, infestation, and energy required than conventional farming encounters. Research has shown that 30% of harvested crops are wasted due to spoilage and infestation, though this number is much lower in developed nations.
The controlled growing environment reduces the need for pesticides, namely herbicides and fungicides. Advocates claim that producing organic crops in vertical farms is practical and the most likely production
The Eden project in the UK cost 140 million pounds ($210 million), which included about 40 acres beyond the 2.4 hectares of domed greenhouse. The Eden project is a greenhouse and not a vertical farm.
There is a 150,000 square foot plant factory in Texas They grow 2.2 million plants, stacked up 50 feet high, all underneath the magenta glow of blue and red LEDS.
FarmedHere, occupies one-fifth of a previously vacant 90,000-square-foot warehouse in Bedford Heights (Chicago) and looks like a marijuana grow-op on steroids. Layers of trays and fluorescent lamps stacked five or six levels high nearly reach the 24-foot ceiling, sandwiching an armada of basil and arugula plants whose roots dangle from reusable sheets of polystyrene.
According to Despommier (father of the Vertical Farm concept), there are now 211 vertical farms in Japan. Some of these, such as the 30,000-square-foot farm run by Kyoto-based Nuvege, have pioneered the use of efficient LED lighting. Powering lights accounts for 18 percent of FarmedHere’s operating costs, and Hardej expects that number to drop considerably as it transitions to LEDs.”
Singapore has a 3 story tall vertical farm (with a few hundred racks) but is is 9 meter tall racks with no actual floors.
Giacomelli thinks putting plain-old greenhouses on rooftops could be just as efficient as vertical farms – and a lot easier to implement.
In fact, two companies are already working on that approach. Gotham Greens is producing pesticide-free lettuce and basil for restaurants and retailers from rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn, while Lufa Farms grows 23 veggie varieties in a 31,000 foot greenhouse atop a Montreal office building.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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