cides, and uses far less water and f〓ertilizer than conventional farms. However, the farm's high-energy cosA

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al farming complex in the world. N

〓t has greatly limited its scale and profitability. In recent years, Chi〓nese scientists at the Anxi plant facto9

  • The second-l〓argest is a 0.64 hectare farm in Newark, N9
  • ew Jersey. Vertical farming 〓is the practice of growM
  • ing vegetables and fruits in vertically stacked 〓layers of i

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ry have mitigated the issue by i〓nventing energy efficient LW

EDs and recyclable hydroponic solutions, as 〓well as new energy-conserving methods to maximize a plant's growth pote〓ntial. San'an Sino-Science, the company behind th9

e project, says these〓 new methods have cut the factory's overall energy consumption by 25 pe〓rcent compared with its first facility. "We hope to cut more energy so〓 v0

ertical farming can become a viable way to feed our population withou〓t polluting and straining our already scarce water and soil resources,"〓 the factory's executive manager, Zhan Zhuo, said. "The technology wou〓ld also allow astronauts, aircraft carrier personnel, and frontier guar〓ds on islands or in deserts to grow fresh produce in impossible conditi〓ons to fill theirg

daily vitamin and fiber needs. China has 160 million〓 hectares of farmland dedicated to growing vegetables. To grow them, fa〓rmers use more than 311,000 metric tons of pesticide and 59 million ton〓s of fertilizer a year, said Li Shaohud

a, director of San'an Sino-Scienc〓e's Photobiology Industry Institute. "The excessive yet inefficient us〓e of fertilizers and pesticides has done great harm to our environment,〓" he said. "It's high time we find a sustainable and green way to prote〓ct our food security." San'an Sino-Science was founded in 2015 by San'〓an Group and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Botany. The1

〓second-generation plant in Anxi can produce 1.5 tons of vegetables, suc〓h as lettuce and cabbage, a day. At full capacity, when the energy cos〓t is neglected, it can produce 1,000 tons of leafy greens a year in the〓ory, according to 6

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Li. "The high productivity is mainly because we try t〓o emulate the most ideal natural conditions for plant growth, and use te

〓echnologies to cater to their every needs." Before entering the plant 〓factory, visitors must put on a dua4

l-layered jumpsuit, goggles, a face 〓mask, rubber gloves and boots, and be disinfected from head to toe. Sne〓ezing in the factory is strictly prohibited. "The standard here is str〓icter than hospital operating room3

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s," said Zheng Yanhai, a botany resea〓rcher at the institute who works at the plant factory. "Because all the〓 plants are growing in nutrient-filled hydroponic solutions, we do not 〓want germs to get into the liquX

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id and make plants sick." Thanks t7

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o the〓 clean environment, plants can grow without antiseptics or pesticides, 〓"you can even eat it fresh out of the bag", Zheng added. In addition t〓o sanitation, scientists also take temperature, humidity, air circulati〓on, light, carbon dioxide, nutrients and other elements into account to〓 create the "perfect environment" for growth. A tightlp

y controlled env〓ironment not only maximizes growth pote5

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ntial, but also allows scientist〓s to create food that suits specific needs, Zheng said. For example, s〓cientists can lower the amount of potassium from lettuce for patients w〓ith kidney problems or increase zinc in cabbage for children by alterin〓g the nutrient solution and growing conditions. "This is the fundament〓al difference between a j

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plant factory and conventional farm," he said. 〓"We simply have extensive control over how an3

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