JUL 10, 2018 5:48 PM PDT

The Science Behind Vertical Farming

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Agriculture, the human civilization's supporting pillar, has come a long way. Compared to the traditional way of cultivating crops, which is also known as horizontal farming, verticle farming is the practice of producing food in indoor structures with vertically stacked layers. It relies on indoor farming technologies to provide nutrients and energy to crops and carefully control their growth environment.

For example, hydroponics is a much-used technique in vertical farming. It requires placing the roots of plants in nutrient-rich solutions instead of soil. Because the water is kept in a closed reservoir, evaporation is minimized and therefore the amount of the water required can be drastically reduced up to 70%. The aeroponic method takes water conservation to a new level: instead of having roots constantly dipped in solutions, an aeroponic-based farming system generates a mist or aerosol saturated with nutrient that nurtures the plants through their roots.

Lighting in vertical farming is another area that has been improved through technology. Because the crops are housed indoors, they require artificially lighting to sustain their photosynthesis. LED light, also known as light-emitting diodes, are energy more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs. What's more, because the process of photosynthesis does not require the light of full spectrum, the use of pure red, blue or purple LEDs can provide spectrum-focused photonic energy to plants, which further reduces the use of energy and make vertical farming economically competitive.

Source: ACS Reactions via Youtube

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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