A "vertical field": 9,000 square metres of vertical farming, where vegetables and herbs will grow without pesticides, GMOs and with a 97% reduction in water consumption. With an AI system which, thanks to a widespread system of sensors, controls the entire production stage, from seeds to end products. Although this sounds like a future scenario, it is already a reality.
In fact, the Italian company Planet Farms has presented the largest and most cutting-edge vertical farming facility in Italy and Europe: it will be built in Cavenago (MB) and will spread over 9,000 square meters. Relying on a widespread system of sensors and AI which ensures the constant control of the entire production, the vertical farm will be an integrated supply chain, from seeds to end products.
As a partner in this project, 255hec has developed the technology that operates the facility and has coordinated engineering activities for all handling and automation issues. “Special" machines, designed ad hoc, and software that controls the vertical farm using sensors and innovative technologies connected with industry 4.0, Big Data and the Cloud system. In fact, the software will be able to report in advance any anomaly relating to seeds, production and machines, thereby triggering corrective actions. This will create an extensive data network shared by different Vertical Farms: “It is a highly innovative project, in which various areas - from robotics/automation to storage methods, from hydroponic culture to the study of seeds - come together to obtain a sustainable and healthy food product, which will no longer need pesticides and herbicides", said Paolo Meregalli, 255hec. “The way in which agricultural production is conceived will change, making it possible even in town".
The result? Basil, aromatic herbs and leafy salads will grow in environments with clean air and water, with a 97% reduction in water consumption, and will be supplied fresh 365 days a year. A healthy, sustainable system since it reduces the waste of resources, and also an efficient system since vegetables and herbs can be cultivated anywhere in the world regardless of climate, without worrying about the weather and sufficient space.