• Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Inside China's 'smart vegetable farm': Autonomous greenhouse allows plants to grow without soil or s

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by haidian, Jul 14, 2018.

  1. haidian

    haidian SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,071
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Ratings:
    +1 / 4,908 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    Inside China's 'smart vegetable farm': Autonomous greenhouse allows plants to grow without soil or sunlight
    • Futuristic farm maximises growth potential of plants and is 75 times more efficient than conventional farming
    • 54,000 sq ft plant in Fujian, south-east China, can produce eight to 10 tonnes of vegetables every day
    • The system automatically regulates temperature, water, humidity, nutrients and LEDs that replace sunlight
    By KELSEY CHENG FOR MAILONLINE

    PUBLISHED: 08:06 BST, 9 July 2018

    These luscious leafy greens sprout from stackable trays in a confined room - without the need of a single drop of pesticide, natural sunlight or soil.

    In what could be the future of agriculture in China, a company in Anxi, Fujian province, has been developing a smart farm that enables vegetables to grow efficiently in an automated environment.

    The firm's latest expansion project - a 5,000-square-metre (53,819-square-foot) indoor farm - has been under development for the past two years and was finally unveiled last Friday.

    Eight to 10 tonnes of vegetables are produced every day on the farm, which is almost the size of a football pitch. That amount of vegetables would be enough to feed nearly 36,000 people, according to Sanan Sino-Science, the company behind the project.

    [​IMG]
    In what could be the future of agriculture in China, a company in Anxi, Fujian province, has been developing a smart farm factory that enables vegetables to grow efficiently in an automated environment

    [​IMG]
    The firm's latest project - a 5,000-square-metre (53,819-square-foot) indoor farm - has been under development for the past two years and was finally unveiled last Friday. The new farm can produce between eight to 10 tonnes of veggies daily

    The massive incubation room requires only four staff members to manage - compared with about 300 farmers required in conventional farmlands to produce the equivalent amount.

    People in China consume an average of 276 grams (9.7 ounces) of vegetables every day, according to the National Institute for Nutrition and Health.

    'Compared with our first generation smart farm, this new plant yields even more effective results while reducing labour and environmental costs,' Sanan Sino-Science CEO Zhan Zhuo told MailOnline.

    The company was founded in 2015 by San'an Group and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Botany.

    Its first generation plant factory, which covers an area of 10,000 square metres (1 hectare), is claimed to be the world's largest vertical farming complex.

    The smart farming method, which practises growing vegetables and herbs in multilevel cultivation beds of hydroponic solutions in a controlled environment, is equipped with highly advanced autonomous technology.

    [​IMG]
    The smaller-sized varieties can be harvested in 18 days while larger vegetables take between 33 and 35 days
    [​IMG]
    An automated converter belt was also seen transporting the plates of crisp green veggies for packaging

    [​IMG]
    Scientists donning a full biohazard gear with goggles, faces masks, rubber gloves and boots while examining the veggies

    The confined indoor space has a strict system that regulates temperature, water source, humidity, nutrients and LEDs that replace sunlight.

    'This maximises the plant's growth potential while maintaining a sustainable and continuous growth cycle,' Mr Zhan said.

    In the factory, the smaller-sized varieties can be harvested in 18 days while larger vegetables take between 33 and 35 days, he added. Vegetables in a conventional farm need about 40 to 60 days to reach maturity, which is also highly dependable on weather conditions.

    At full capacity, when the energy cost is neglected, the smart factory can produce 3,000 tonnes to 3,500 tonnes of leafy greens per year.

    Video footage of the gigantic smart plant shows factory workers donning a full biohazard gear with goggles, faces masks, rubber gloves and boots while examining and patrolling rows of rainbow coloured LED-lit shelves.

    Various plants including lettuce, basil and bok choy are seen growing on large white trays in tiny allocated slots, submerged in nutrient solutions that are essentially free of soil.
    [​IMG]
    Sanan Sino-Science's first generation plant factory is claimed to be the world's largest vertical farming complex
    [​IMG]
    These vegetables taste less bitter and possess higher nutritional value compared with other conventionally grown plants
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  2. haidian

    haidian SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,071
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Ratings:
    +1 / 4,908 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    [​IMG]
    The incubation room requires only four staff members, compared with about 300 farmers required in conventional farmlands

    An automated converter belt was also seen transporting the plates of crisp green veggies for packaging.

    'These vegetables taste less bitter and possess higher nutritional value compared with other conventionally grown plants,' Mr Zhan said.

    More importantly, the new technology greatly saves on water, which is a scarce resource in the country.

    'We are working hard to attain a 1:1 ratio between the water used and the vegetables harvested,' Mr Zhan said, meaning that one tonne of water used can ideally produce one whole tonne of vegetables.

    'Currently, 80 per cent to 85 per cent of the water used could be recycled back into the plant. We hope to reach the 1:1 ratio goal by 2020.'

    The company also plans to install AI technology in the facility that can record and analyse growth data through sensors.

    The self-learning model will automatically design a template that illustrates the optimal growing condition for each specific kind of vegetable, Mr Zhan said.

    This will also help the farm produce a precise, stable, year-round supply of leafy greens, which means that market prices vegetables could also be more predictable.
    [​IMG]
    More importantly, the new technology greatly saves on water, which is a scarce resource in the country

    [​IMG]
    The smart, GMO-free veggies are sold around 30 yuan (£3.4) to 36 (£4) yuan per kilogramme in China

    'This farming method is particularly beneficial in challenging environments such as deserts, mountainside towns, or in cities where labour come at a high cost,' Mr Zhan said.

    A tightly controlled environment not only speeds up the growth cycle, but also allows researchers to create vegetables that suit specific needs, he added.

    For example, scientists can lower the amount of potassium in the greens for patients with kidney problems or increase zinc in cabbages for children.

    Right now, the vegetables produced are being shipped to the rest of Fujian province and Shanghai in supermarkets and high-class restaurants.

    The brand new technology could help transform China's rapid green revolution amid growing concerns on food safety and nutrition.

    The country is also the largest producer of vegetables in the world, harvesting 78.7 million tonnes of vegetables in 2016. The number is expected to rise continuously, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
    [​IMG]
    The farm can produce a precise, stable, year-round supply of leafy greens, meaning market prices will be more predictable

    [​IMG]
    Through the system, scientists can lower the amount of potassium in the vegetables for patients with kidney problems

    The smart, GMO-free veggies are sold around 30 yuan (£3.4) to 36 (£4) yuan per kilogramme in China, while regular vegetables are sold at a wholesale price of 2.85 yuan (£0.32) per kg, according to the latest statistics released by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

    While this may be an eye-watering price tag to many, a recent food and health survey conducted recently by China Youth Daily on 2,001 Chinese residents shows that more than 76 per cent of participants are willing to spend more money on healthier food choices.

    Another 66 per cent of those surveyed agreed that they would now pay more attention to the product's nutritional value than its flavour and taste.

    The smart factory's relevant equipment and technologies have been shared with countries possessing advanced technological capabilities such as US, Japan and Singapore, Mr Zhan said.

    'We hope to bring the concept of "produce locally, sold locally" to different cities,' he said. 'We have ambitious plans to expand.'
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...m-feed-36-000-people-day-reducing-labour.html
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    13,374
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Ratings:
    +23 / 9,878 / -3
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. haidian

    haidian SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,071
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Ratings:
    +1 / 4,908 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
  5. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    13,374
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Ratings:
    +23 / 9,878 / -3
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    Well if this isn't cutting edge World Headlines about new tech why aren't you posting it in the China forum????

    You post something here you should expect some international replies.
     
  6. haidian

    haidian SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,071
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Ratings:
    +1 / 4,908 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    I post every thing to show what's happening in China, do you believe whatever I post is to target US? Sorry, I m not obsessed with any particular country.
     
  7. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    13,374
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Ratings:
    +23 / 9,878 / -3
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    LOL! I was just pointing out this topic has been seen before in the Technology & Science section. Sorry I rattled you. Don't stop this thread just for that...please continue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  8. haidian

    haidian SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,071
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Ratings:
    +1 / 4,908 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    Every person knows it's not a new technology , and this one is just one of many experiments being tested in China, you rattled no one.
     
  9. Tshering22

    Tshering22 ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    16,819
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Ratings:
    +15 / 20,058 / -9
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    Congratulations to China.

    You have adopted and succeeded something for which we Indians have been bickering over for over a decade since Israel introduced the concept of aeroponics and hydroponics in India's thought process.

    Your speed of adapting latest methods is very admirable.