The world population continues to grow and grow. The United Nations expects it to rise to between nine and ten billion people by the year 2050, at least two-thirds of whom will probably be living in major cities. The majority of these high-population urban centers will be located in developing and emerging countries. Supplying them with food will become an increasing logistical challenge. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if fresh produce could be produced locally, directly in the cities themselves? Without long transport routes and exactly where the customers are located? While conserving resources as much as possible?
This vision is the promise behind vertical farming—in large, windowless halls under precisely controlled environmental conditions, lettuces and various vegetables are grown on shelves stacked atop one another. These halls could theoretically be located almost anywhere: in metropolises as well as on the subpolar tundra or in desert regions.
This cultivation is ecological because it requires less water, less soil and fewer pesticides than outdoor farming. And if the energy required for lighting and climate controls is generated by wind or the sun, the operation of such facilities can also be climate-neutral. Instead of the sun, by the way, special LED lamps provide exactly the right light spectrum the plants need for optimal growth. TÜV SÜD is also involved with this innovation: in a company laboratory, we inspect the LEDs that simulate daylight in these greenhouses of the future.