Scientists are testing crops in Brandenburg without soil, sunlight or water

Vertical Indoor Farming in Brandenburg

Scientists are testing the cultivation of plants without soil, sunlight and water

rbb24 Brandenburg Current

Audio: Brandenburg antenna | 22/07/2022 | Martina Roke | Picture: rbb24 Brandenburg Current

Scientists and a company from Hennickendorf near Strausberg are testing the vertical cultivation of plants in Brandenburg without sunlight and without rain. This method can even be used to grow rice in Germany.

A company from Hennickendorf near Strausberg (Märkisch-Oderland district) wants to build halls for vertical plant cultivation. At Paulinenaue in Havelland, there are already prototypes of the so-called “Vertical Indoor Farming” by BioEnergieLand in cooperation with the Humboldt University.

At the research center in Paulinenaue, the individual pallets are illuminated by plants. The pallets are stacked on top of each other. Shelves with a futuristic design take up little space. In such an environment, pests should play no role, which should render the use of pesticides unnecessary.

90 percent less water consumption

According to researcher Patrick Krieger, the water management in the project sets trends. Plants hardly need to be watered at all, says Krieger, who is involved in the project with Humboldt University. According to the company, this method uses about 90 percent less water than conventional plant production. It is not without significance in times of water shortage.

“We can’t see any water on the surface, which means the plants are transpiring. After all, the transpira is harvested in the prototype by air conditioning and put back in stock, ”Krieger told rbb. According to the scientist, only the water bound in the plant is lost.

Plant production as on an assembly line

Lighting should also play an important role in special breeding halls. Because plant firing is fully regulated, said project manager Frank Riesbach, rbb. Illuminated by energy-saving LED lamps. No soil is needed for breeding, only colorful, compostable substrates.

“We are the first in the world to allow plants to move from front to back in three sections, like on a conveyor belt: young plants grow at the front and are harvested at the back – every day” continues the project. The system is more sustainable than growing in greenhouses in which it is too hot in summer.

Plant production as on an assembly line

So far, about forty plant varieties have been tested, incl. wheat, barley and potatoes. Now it’s time for rice. “A plant that does not actually grow here,” said project manager Riesbach. “But because we can regulate the light cycle ourselves, it is possible to produce rice in our latitudes around the world.” It is also about saving long transport routes and thus CO2.

For now, however, these are only pilot projects: The research is being carried out at Paulinenaue in Havelland. Other plant varieties will soon be grown on nutrient media and only under artificial lighting. The first hall is currently under construction in the village and the cultivation of plants should start there at the end of the year.

Broadcast: rbb24 Brandenburg Aktuell on July 22, 2022 at 19:30

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