Belgian Colruyt Group has developed a vertical farm. Starting late 2019 Colruyt will sell herbs from their vertical farm through Bio-Planet shops.
Vertical farming, where use is made of fully conditioned and controlled circumstances, makes it possible to grow basil plants of high quality, leaving a minimal ecological footprint, says Colruyt.
“Air, light, water and nutrients are being administered in a controlled situation, and in optimal quantities. That way, we‘re not using more energy and resources than is absolutely necessary, while the plant profits from optimal growth. Agents are redundant. That makes the crop 100% natural,” says Colruyt director Stefan Goethaert in an interview with Dutch ledmagazine.
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Also, the plant is fully grown twice as fast compared to classic cultivation, claims Goethaert. “Furthermore, quality is maintained at the exact same level throughout the whole year, regardless the weather conditions.” Colruyt states that 20 times less space is needed for the same amount of crops compared to normal cultivation.
After almost a year of testing is has turned out that water consumption has dropped 90%, usage of nutrients has dropped 50%. “Our LED lighting is twice as efficient as the current lighting available on the market. And the installation is powered by electricity supplied by our own wind turbines and solar panels,” says Goethaert.
In a test setup the growing circumstances are further being optimised. The goal is to sell the first vertically farmed herbs within a year, through Bio-Planet stores.