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New vertical veg system both effective and efficient

July 25, 2008  By Greenhouse Canada staff

1504_mature_cropWEB EXCLUSIVE

New vertical veg system both effective and efficient
Valcent’s High Density Vegetable
Vertical Growing System (VGS) has now been operating continuously for
almost a year at a greenhouse in El Paso, Texas. 

 Just getting started

Valcent’s High Density Vegetable Vertical Growing System (VGS) has now been operating continuously for almost a year at a greenhouse in El Paso, Texas. During this operational test, results indicate the system will produce approximately 20 times the amount of vegetables per acre grown in a field while only using five per cent of the water used for field crops.

VGS is a continuous production system. Plants can be simultaneously harvested and planted with no interruption to the process. To date, the system has successfully grown leafy lettuce, spinach, micro-greens, a
variety of herbs, mint, beets, strawberries, wheatgrass, alfalfa and certain strains of rice.

 Half way there

Interpretation of initial data suggests that lettuce can be grown in a 32-day growing cycle at the rate of four million heads of lettuce per acre per year at a cost that may be less than that of field grown lettuce. Recent development of the vertical panels and packaging will make it possible to deliver live lettuce to the consumer, ensuring the highest quality of nutrition and taste. Lettuce that is picked in a field loses 50 per cent of its nutritional value within 24 hours, yet delivery from the field may take a week.

The system is fully automated by computer monitoring and operating systems that control the rate of movement of the vertical growing panels, water pumps, sterilization, the deployment of nutrients, the ambient temperature, and pH levels. Also, the system uses no pesticides or herbicides. The VGS system does not require arable land and can be sited in urban, suburban or even desert areas, thus providing very fresh vegetables to large markets with virtually no transportation costs while eliminating fuel expense and pollution.

 A mature crop

The research has been looking at optimum growing conditions along with final costs of production will be determined.

Valcent CEO Glen Kertz notes that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization is warning that the world food supply is shrinking with limited water supplies. And there is now competition between the use of agricultural land for food or for fuel, which is driving up prices. “Further, some component of each meal that we eat has been transported1,500 miles. There is an acute need for our system, which can locally grow very high-nutrition vegetables at a competitive cost, efficiently, fast, and year-round with minimal water use, and which produces no agricultural or transportation pollution. The VGS system can be distributed locally everywhere, and is easily scalable from small to very large food production operations..”

Valcent Products is a pioneer and leader in ecotechnology with its core R&D focus on sustainable, renewable, and intense growth of agricultural products.

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