The technology behind precision indoor farming – also commonly known as vertical farming – has come a long way in recent years.
By learning from other vertical farming designs and integrating the latest automation technology, NuLeaf Farms has developed an advanced and reliable indoor vertical farming solution like no other. Our technology enables high-yielding crops to be grown locally 365 days a year.
Let’s have a look at the NuLeaf advantage over other indoor farming technology and methods currently available to the market.
New to indoor farming? Read this quick introduction to vertical farming technology to help better understand the advantages of the NuLeaf Farms solution.
How Vertical Farming Works
The concept of modern vertical farming has been around for about 20 years. In that time it has evolved from an academic idea to a billion-dollar industry.
What is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops indoors, often with only the use of artificial lighting inside a soilless, controlled environment. The primary farming techniques utilized inside these facilities include aeroponics, aquaponics, or hydroponics systems.
Different types of vertical farming incorporate various aspects of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). These indoor growing systems are commonly housed in larger warehouses or shipping containers. The plants are grown with LED lighting in layered stacks or tall wall towers.
Brief History of Indoor Farming
The first vertical farm project began in the early 2000s when Dickson Despommier challenged his students at Columbia University. They designed an outline of the world’s first indoor vertical farm that included grow lights and conveyor belts.
By the mid-2000s, vertical farming companies were raising millions of dollars to fund their start-up ventures. The investment community was believing the hype around the potential for new technology to make indoor farming more efficient.
The buzz included advancements in:
- LED lighting
- Artificial intelligence
This trend continued for about a decade. Vertical farming companies gained traction by touting the efficiencies of new operating systems and lighting technology. The vertical farming industry is quickly becoming one of the hottest investment trends coming out of the 2020 pandemic.
However, to date many vertical farming companies have struggled with profitability. The main issues cited generally involve:
- System design flaws
- High technology costs
- High operating costs
- Excessive labor requirements
- Low food production-to-expense ratio
So where does the vertical farming go from here? At NuLeaf, we believe our new precision indoor system and business model could revolutionize the industry.
The NuLeaf Advantage
NuLeaf’s engineering team began its research and development process in 2016.
With backgrounds in traditional farming, automotive and the oil and gas industry, the founding team approached the research and development through a unique lens. Our team set out to design the world’s best controlled environment agriculture (CEA) system.
Our design process was guided by two principles:
- Indoor agriculture is about producing crops at high yields with minimal input costs and a lowest environmental impact
- Indoor farming systems need to be scalable and profitable
By focusing on our main objectives (crop yields and scalability) the team knew this would lead to a sustainable indoor farming business. By achieving our objectives, Nuleaf would be well-positioned to contribute to the food security solution.
Leveraging technology to become operationally efficient was at the core of the design philosophy. Maximizing scalability and yield per square foot while preserving every ounce of water and watt of electricity would contribute to the sustainability of both the food and business we grow.
After reviewing the successes and challenges of the vertical farming industry, we developed a hybrid design like no other.
Our automated indoor farm combines the logistical benefits of large scale warehouses with the benefits of modular infrastructure.
NuLeaf’s indoor farming system features multiple modular hydroponic grow rooms enclosed within a warehouse.
Designed to meet stringent municipal permitting specifications, our system connects controlled-environment grow rooms within new or existing urban warehouse space.
Each grow room comprises three main subsystems:
The subsystems work in tandem to control the growing environments within the rooms. This allows us to precisely optimize each environment to the ideal conditions of its specific crop.
One room could be configured for growing leafy green plants while another has a growing climate optimized for strawberries, peppers, etc.
Our indoor farming system encloses multiple self-contained rooms within one warehouse. This allows for a variety of precise growing climates to function under one roof.
Supporting subsystem equipment is installed outside the grow rooms in a condensed system footprint that is conducive to a high-production factory and easily integrates with existing supply chains.
Industrial Design is Built to Last
NuLeaf’s indoor farming system features a heavy industrial design that:
Maximum Crop Yield
Each NuLeaf grow room encloses automated LED lighting and grow towers that stretch from floor to ceiling. This compact vertical production plane has many benefits:
A Different Indoor Farming Model
A key feature of NuLeaf’s indoor farming system is that it seamlessly integrates with existing food distribution networks.
Simplified Supply Chain
Food retailers and distributors can easily have a NuLeaf indoor farming system near an existing distribution center or adjacent warehouse space. This level of local vertical integration eliminates the complexities and uncertainties of existing global produce supply chains.
Forget about produce traveling around the world before making it to the retail shelf.
In under 24 hours, freshly cut herbs and leafy greens, can go…
from plant to harvesting the package the store shelf plate
Centralized Automation and Control
There is a science behind growing plants and producing food at scale. One of the most important factors is the ability to control conditions within the indoor growing environments.
Distributed Farm Network
All NuLeaf indoor farms are locally monitored within each facility and connected to the central control center located at NuLeaf headquarters. Sensors in each grow room monitor conditions and the real-time data is analyzed by the system and trained personnel at NuLeaf headquarters. Changes and crop yields are logged over time and conditions are adjusted as required to maximize output.
Growing Tomorrows Future....
Our hydroponic farm solutions can easily integrate with existing food distribution networks. Allowing growers to supply their customers, such as grocery stores and wholesalers with unparalleled freshness without worrying about poor production or supply chain uncertainties.
Together with our partners, we can grow and package fresh, locally grown food for our communities to enjoy all year-round.
Contact NuLeaf Farms today to learn more about our leading hydroponic farm technology.