LED Indor Farm - 100 Times more productive

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 |

Japan is home to the world’s largest indoor farm and the statistics for which are a little bit mind blowing; 25,000 square feet producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day (100 times more per square foot than traditional methods) with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.
 The benefits of farming indoors with such a controllable climate are fairly obvious. Crops won’t be affected by unexpected weather events, crop disease or bad droughts. Working in Miyagi Prefecture in eastern Japan, which was badly hit by powerful earthquake and tsunamis in 2011, Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura turned a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs.

The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth. Being half the size of a football pitch the farm comprises of 17,500 LED lights on “18 cultivation racks reaching 15 levels high,” GE says. “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen,” Shimamura says. “What we need to do is not just setting (sic) up more days and nights. We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and the environment

.” The lights give them the ability to control temperature, humidity and irrigation, allowing it to cut its water usage to 1 percent of that needed by outdoor fields, while also growing lettuces two-and-a-half times faster, the experts claim. The GE Japan team believes that indoor farms like the one in the Miyagi Prefecture could be a key to solving food shortages in the world. Mirai and GE are already working on “plant factories” in Hong Kong and the Far East of Russia. Says Shimamura: “Finally, we are about to start the real agricultural industrialization.”