CHAP’s Vertical Farming Development Centre is housed at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC), near Selby, and provides additional and complementary capabilities to STC’s existing LED4CROPS facilities.
This facility will mean that growers, food producers and researchers will be able to determine how different technologies in a controlled environment will impact the economics of LED vertical farming. The aim is to develop technologies which will reduce production costs whilst maximising profits, potentially on a large scale.
It consists of two identical growth rooms each with full climate control (temperature, relative humidity, CO2). Each growth rooms contains 140m2 of LED lit cropping area (five tiers). Crops will be grown using a fully recirculating hydroponics system. All inputs and outputs will be monitored.
A major question inhibiting investment in vertical farm technology is the economics of crop production. This new facility has been designed with the primary goal of quantifying those economics for a wide range of crops. By having two identical compartments, we are able to compare the impact of different climate control strategies on energy efficiency and crop yields, leading to improved energy efficiency, sustainability, yields and economics.
The facilities will provide the perfect location to test and develop new technologies aimed at improving all aspects of vertical farms. The system has been designed to achieve a high-care environment so clean crop can be grown potentially removing the need to wash harvested produce.