China has unveiled its first domestically developed unmanned vertical plant factory in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Developed by the Institute of Urban Agriculture under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the 20-storied vertical farm is a first of its kind, Interesting Engineering reports.
The team at the Institute of Urban Agriculture (IUA), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) deployed robots that can grow and harvest a crop of lettuce in just 35 days, claim the researchers in a report.
The facility utilizes advanced plant light formulas to improve light efficiency, overcoming challenges related to low light efficiency and high energy consumption.
"We can combine different amounts of red, blue, yellow, near-ultraviolet and near-infrared lights during different stages of the plant's lifecycle," said Wang Sen, a researcher at the IUA. "We have built a database of 1,300 combinations for 72 types of crops."
Vertical farming is often considered a promising and innovative approach to address certain challenges in agriculture. Allowing for the cultivation of crops in stacked layers, maximizes the use of vertical space.
This is particularly beneficial in urban areas where land is limited. It offers the potential to produce more food per square meter compared to traditional horizontal farming.