Has Indoor Farming just got even more sustainable?

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming or indoor farming is one of the fastest growing markets in the world today. Sustainable and efficient innovations and rightly so there are more and more amazing start ups enter the market as they emerge from lengthy and expensive research and development LAB testing and rolling out their finely tuned food making machines….

Innovation at its greatest!

In order to optimise production the new set ups are equipped with state of the art LED lighting rigs, sensors linked to AI (artificial intelligence) that eliminates even more point of failure. Climate control will create the perfect growing climate to maximise yield and quality. Irrigation systems have knocked off an amazing 90% + of the water usage to that of the traditional crop.

Vertical farming businesses pride themselves on:

  • Reduction in food waste
  • Reduction in water waste
  • Reduction in pesticides
  • Reduction in fertilisers
  • Sustainability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reduce CO2 emissions

Cold chain

A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain between farm to fork. Starting at point of harvest and finishing at the consumers fridge at home or in the restaurant.

The cold chain is your guarantee that your precious product will reach the consumer with the same high quality look, feel and taste that it did when it was harvested.

Get your COLD CHAIN right.

Why would anyone spend years of research, effort and money to grow the perfect product, in the perfect time, in the perfect environment and then not put the perfect cold chain in place to ensure the same quality product reaches the consumer?

What type of cold chain do the traditional farmers use?

The traditional farmer uses a pre cooler.

What is Pre cooling? Pre-cooling is the first link in the cold chain used by traditional farmers across the world for over 50 years. This method of cooling is the rapid removal of field heat shortly after the harvest of a crop. Field heat is the heat contained inside every harvested product.

The longer the field heat remains, the shorter the shelf life, the worse the quality.  Field heat should be reduced below 4 deg C as fast as possible in order to optimise the quality and prolong the shelf life. 

The first link of the cold chain is the traditional farmers responsibility as is a vertical farming operation is 100% responsible for the first link of the cold chain.

“Indoor farmers using a vacuum cooler can cool the same product down to its core over 140 x faster than using a cold store!”

When pre cooling is done properly the product enters the cold store already at optimum temperature to its core usually 3-4 deg C. The cold store then keeps the product cold until the transport refrigeration arrives to collect the product.

When pre cooled the product is already down to its set temperature the cold store duty is reduced and furthermore the duty is also relieved during the refrigerated transport releasing less CO2 Emissions to the atmosphere from the dirty diesel engines.

Types of Pre Cooling? 

  • Vacuum Cooling – most energy efficient and quickest method
  • Blast chilling / forced air cooling
  • Icing
  • Hydro Cooling

Vacuum Cooling is the number one choice for the traditional farmer and this is why:

    • Dramatically increases the shelf life
    • Reduces post harvest loss by up to 100%
    • Extends shelf life of the product
    • Improves the quality of your product
    • Increases the products demand
    • Increases the value of the product
      • Opens doors to exporting as the product can last longer during transportation
    • Relieves duty required on the rest of the cold chain
    • Reduces CO2 Emissions
Here at ICL we have developed the world’s first Vertical Farming module all in one pre cooling solution that combines the vacuum cooler with a cold store.

The answer is “Yes vertical farming has just got more sustainable.”

The vertical farming industry can be forgiven for overlooking such an important aspect of their operation. After all, it seems that even the big players in this space originally overlooked the importance of the first link of the cold chain also but they are the big players for a reason and it has not taken long for them to do what they do best and trail blaze the way for the rest to follow.  I have no doubt that this news will leave some engineers and technology directors scratching their heads but this industry knows nothing else but identify flaws, innovate and overcome…
Check out our brochure: Vertical Farm Brochure 2



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