Ten-year licensing deal with UK-based developer Groundworks marks a major milestone for vertical farming start-up founded in 2016
Vertical farming start-up Vertical Future has signed a £4.5m licensing deal enabling its "fully automated" vertical farming system to be rolled out across various locations over the next ten years, it announced yesterday.
The London-based firm, which claims its vertical farming system can dramatically boost food production per square metre compared to traditional growing methods, said the ten-year agreement would see UK-based developer Groundworks supply Vertical Future with a number of services, including construction support, project management and operations.
"Licensing deals ensure we can share our advanced hardware and software technologies and bring the benefits of vertical farming to urban and rural sites across the world in order to service an increasing need for sustainable food," said Vertical Future's chief executive and founder Jamie Burrows.
The firm claims its "one-of-a-kind" technology offers a 172 per cent increase in output per metre squared compared to traditional growing methods by relying on a number of patent-pending innovations that combine automation with more efficient use of space.
The system, which contains hardware and software elements, is fully powered by clean energy and avoids the carbon emissions, food miles and food waste incurred by traditional farming methods, the company said, adding that minimal human contact throughout the automated farming process reduced the risk of contamination from pathogens and bacteria.
The firm's automated system allows growers to quickly switch between growing hydroponically - with root systems immersed in water - and aeroponically, which sees root systems suspended in air and sprayed with moisture and nutrients.
An advanced data driven software-as-a-service platform called DIANA automatically monitors and adjusts plants' growing conditions to optimise crop productivity, according to Vertical Future.
Vertical Future believes there is a strong appetite for its vertical farming technology, highlighting that it has 35 projects across four continents currently under discussion. "The launch and licensing of this automated system and software is just the first step in Vertical Future's journey to create a healthier future for all," it said.
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