Is this what the green stuff supply of the future will look like? One of the world’s largest vertical farms for growing herbs and salads is being built at the gates of Copenhagen. A Danish start-up and a technology company from Taiwan are building what they say is the largest and most efficient roofed farm in Europe, which, when fully utilized, is expected to achieve a harvest yield of up to three tons a day. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2021.
On 14 floors of the farm in an industrial area around 20 kilometers west of Copenhagen, mint, basil, rocket and young spinach, among other things, are initially harvested. The first restaurants and shops are to be supplied as early as the first quarter of 2021.
When the entire system is up, the start-up Nordic Harvest wants to grow around 20 types of lettuce and herbs, as founder Anders Riemann said of the German Press Agency in Copenhagen. The technology for this – including robots, software and lighting – is supplied by the Taiwanese specialist company YesHealth Group.
The first section of the farm is ready after six months of work, the rest should follow by the end of 2021. Measured against the annual production volume of 1000 tons in full operation, the plant will be the largest of its kind in Europe, said Riemann. Nordic Harvest aims to generate a profit in the first year. With the farm, YesHealth wants to show that vertical agriculture can be feasible on a larger scale.
With vertical farming, plants are grown under roofs in halls and under controlled conditions in water instead of in soil. According to Nordic Harvest, this type of cultivation has several advantages for the end customer: Riemann promises a more intense taste of the products and a higher nutrient content. No pesticides or other chemicals are used, and water is used significantly less. Added to this is higher food security, longer shelf life and the fact that harvesting can take place all year round. In contrast, the energy consumption of such farms is usually high – one of the reasons why the prices of such food are comparatively high.
This is of particular interest to WiWo readers today
While larger farms of this type have hardly found their way into Europe and Asia, Asia and the USA are much further ahead. Nordic Harvest is not the only European company that wants to advance vertical agriculture. Munich-based start-up & Ever, for example, has built a 3,400 square meter commercial farm in Kuwait. According to the company, it has a production capacity of 550 kilograms per day.