Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Giant vertical farm in Denmark will produce 1,000 metric tons of greens a year

Nordic Harvest’s new 14-story vertical farming facility is under construction in the Copenhagen Markets, on the outskirts of Denmark’s capital. Standing 14-stories high in a 7000 sq. meter, the vertical farm will soon begin producing 1,000 metric tons of greens a year locally.

The first phase of the construction of the vertical farming facility was started by the Taiwanese company YesHealth Group, in partnership with Nordic Harvest – a startup that aims to make food production more sustainable through technology – in April this year and was completed in just six months. Production will begin in the first quarter of 2021, and profits are projected within the first year.

An upscaled model aims to increase the vertical farm’s capacity from the original 200 tons annually in the fourth quarter of 2021 to a whopping 1,000 tons annually. Produce can be harvested up to 15 times a year without needing any soil or daylight.

Once completed, it will be the largest and most efficient vertical farming facility in Europe, equipped with YesHealth Group‘s unique technologies, robotics, hydroponics, arrays of more than 20,000 LEDs, all integrated with Nordic Harvest’s design of process flow and packaging.

The new vertical farm stands 14-stories high in a 7000 sq. meter facility at Copenhagen Markets.
The new vertical farm stands 14-stories high in a 7000 sq. meter facility at Copenhagen Markets. Credit: Nordic Harvest

Beyond the abundance of levels and lights, this vertical farmhouse takes automation to the next level. Automated robots will be used to plant seeds in the various rows of stacked shelves and check in on them later as well. The majority of the farm, with 14 shelves of greens stacked up toward the ceiling, is automated, so labor costs are low. Sensors combined with intelligent software will monitor and process over 5000 individual data points.

Critics question the sustainability of this concept, citing high energy consumption. But according to Anders Riemann, founder, and CEO of Nordic Harvest, the energy comes from 100% renewable sources, in this case, from windmills, which makes it CO2-neutral. The fact that food is grown close to consumers means that there are less CO2 emissions and less food loss during transport.

In addition, all water and nutrients are reused. The executive says that this vertical farm consumes 1 liter of water per kilogram of product, 250 times less than a traditional farm field.

Nordic Harvest does not disclose the names of its customers but indicates that they include restaurants and supermarkets. The environmental angle may be the key to the success of the venture. According to a survey by the Danish Farmers’ Union, 95% of the country’s population is willing to change their consumption habits to protect the environment.