Renewable energy could be game-changer for VF
Added on 15 August 2023
Speaking at an event in Angus, Professor Derek Stewart of the James Hutton Institute, said high energy costs had made vertical farming (VF) systems inefficient due to the power required to fuel the stacked growing spaces, automation and mechanics of the systems.
Prohibitive labour costs and shortages have also been a contributing factor.
However, the move toward renewable energy could be a game changer for the sector against a backdrop of climate change.
The system sees plants grown indoors in snooker table sized trays and stacked up 12 metres high.
Professor Stewart said the process is dependent on using energy for light and if the problem of accessing energy cheaply can be addressed, then ‘you’ll win’, because in terms of productivity, VF ‘wins hands-down’.
For farmers in Scotland, seed potatoes grown in a VF environment are a particularly attractive proposition, enjoying “spectacular growth”, four harvests per year and the ability to be guaranteed disease free.
Photo: Professor Derek Stewart.