Bustanica increases the yield and sustainability of its indoor gardening with automation and building monitoring solutions from Siemens.
The newly commissioned $40 million facility in Dubai, the largest of its kind in the world, is owned by Emirates Crop One. The joint venture was created by Emirates Flight Catering, which serves more than a hundred airlines, and Crop One Holdings, a leader in high-tech indoor vertical crop production.
Their indoor farm, which covers the area of about 5 soccer fields, was networked with integrated Siemens technology, which simultaneously increases the efficiency of cultivation and reduces the amount of waste, thus increasing the sustainability of the facility. The building management system controls and monitors air conditioning and ventilation, while automation and control systems create optimal conditions for plant development by regulating light and carbon dioxide levels. The motors, together with the automated stations, ensure that the plants always get the right amount of nutrients and water, and the growing stands are powered by electrical components. The introduced automation solutions were connected to a communication network, which is also protected by Siemens cyber security technology.
Bustanica designed its system for the most efficient use of water. By recovering and recycling evaporated water, the solution uses 250 million liters less water per year compared to, for example, a traditional outdoor farm with a similar yield. The vertical gardening with a floor area of 30,658 square meters consumes 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture, and at the same time delivers 1 million kilograms of produce annually without the use of herbicides and insecticides.
Air passengers on flights to or from Dubai will be the first to taste Bustanica’s products. However, the company plans to sell its leafy greens and other produce to local supermarkets, as plants grown under controlled conditions can be packaged ready-to-eat. Emirates Flight Catering is constantly introducing new solutions to please customers, optimize operations and minimize its environmental footprint. With Siemens technology, the company’s vertical gardening brings cultivation closer to consumers, which simultaneously increases the efficiency and sustainability of the facility.
Compared to outdoor farming, indoor vertical farms achieve up to 100 times higher productivity, as they fully control the conditions of crop cultivation, so they deliver all year round. The innovative sector is expanding at an accelerating pace and can alleviate global problems such as food insecurity, the scarcity of arable land and the lack of labor, on the other hand, it plays an increasingly important role in serving the demand for chemical-free crops. According to data from the analysis company Markets and Markets, the market for vertical farms was 3.6 billion dollars last year, and it will reach 9.7 billion dollars by 2026, i.e. it will expand by an average of 25 percent annually.
This is not Siemens’ first foray into the field. The company’s technology helps control, automate and optimize the indoor gardening facilities and processes of the Czech GreenTech and the American 80 Acres Farms, among others.