Tapahtumat

The Future of Vertical Farming

Tule mukaan paneelikeskusteluun oppiaksesi lisää vertikaalisesta viljelyn potentiaalista.
A pilot room of vertical farming
A pilot room constructed during the Aalto’s R2B-project called VIS (Located at Piikkiö in research center of Natural Resources Institute Finland). Photo: Mikko Raskinen
Lettuce grown with vertical farming
Photo: Mikko Raskinen

According to our vision, the vertical farming industry has great potential significantly change plant cultivation practices and sustainability of food production. Vertical farming can produce fresh food with minimised CO2 emissions: These facilities could be constructed mainly from wood, and only renewable electricity could be consumed in the cultivation process. In addition, vertical farming would reduce the need for transport of products to consumers close to zero miles, and cultivated products could have even longer shelf life, resulting in less food waste. 

In such systems, irrigation water could be recycled close to 100%, so the only water escaping the facility would be the amount of water stored inside the cultivated plants. Concomitantly, fertilisers can be recycled, thus preventing nutrients runoff to oceans. The irrigation system enables vertical farming operations to thrive even in extremely dry and hot areas wherein other plant cultivation practices are not applicable. This means more options to expand our food production system and can also offer possibilities to reforestation of land areas reserved for open field cultivation.

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Large-scale industrial vertical farms could be integrated to the infrastructure of smart cities, and besides hyper-local and super-clean food production, these farms could produce thermal energy into the district heating networks and balance the electrical grid. Multiple, different plants could be produced in a profitable way, including such protein-rich plants as broad beans.

While the vertical farming industry is growing into one of the major plant production methods, the total land area of forests is increasing (fields are again converted back to forests). At the same time, we need fewer fertilisers and pesticides than open field farming, which will have a direct impact on biodiversity loss and eutrophication of the seas

Panelists:

  • Arttu Mäkinen, Doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki
  • Henri Jaatinen, Cultivation expert, Novarbo Oy
  • Harri Juntunen, Business Developer, Yield Systems
  • Niko Kivioja, CEO, Netled Oy

Panu Miettinen (Aalto University) and Titta Kotilainen (Natural Resources Institute of Finland, Luke) are leading the panel discussion.

A pilot room constructed during the Aalto’s R2B-project called VIS.
A pilot room constructed during the Aalto’s R2B-project called VIS (located at Piikkiö in research centre of Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke). Photo: Mikko Raskinen

This project springs from the R2B project (funded mainly by Business Finland) called VIS at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems in the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto. VIS has continued as a research project that is part of project called TREFORM funded by the Academy of Finland in a collaboration between Aalto University and Natural Resources Institute of Finland.
 

Working group:

  • Pasi Herranen, Doctoral candidate, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

  • Panu Miettinen, Commercializing expert, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

  • Vahid Arabzadeh, Postdoctoral researcher (Energy Systems of Vertical farming) 

  • Lauri Rautkari, Professor of Wood Material Science 

  • Matti Kummu, Professor of Global Water and Food Issues 

  • Alp Karakoc, Research Fellow, Department of Communications and Networking

External research partners: 

  • Titta Kotilainen, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Institute of Finland

Contact

Pasi Herranen

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Bioproducts
Kuvassa Pasi Herranen, Orvokki Ihalainen ja Panu Miettinen

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