Important factors in designing a good microclimate
The important and very different factors from conventual farming, in design an optimum microclimate in an indoor grow facility is typically:
Surveilling and monitoring the complete process is almost mandatory to secure an optimum yield per production unit. The more data points and control of the processes inside a Vertical Farm the more sense it makes to optimize the control of the airflow inside the racks. For example, by controlling each fan with a separate damper or another flow control. A KE GreenDuct maintain its performance even at variable airflow from 25-100% of nominal
High quality farming
Indoor growing is typically much more efficient compared to conventual farming because of the controlled environment, which eliminate the need of using pesticides and herbicides. However, high hygiene standards are crucial to prevent spread of diseases and contamination since the production is so condensed. Fabric ducting like a KE GreenDuct is a very good hygienic solution compared to steel ducting because of the nature of the woven material. The surface is porous, so the material is breathing, which prevent condensation on the surface even at a high humidity. It can furthermore be treated with our environmentally friendly AntiBac treatment (approved according to EN/ISO 20645 and EN/ISO 20743), which eliminate mold and fungi growth
With active management 24/7/365 of the main growth parameters like temperature, UV-light, humidity and CO2 as well as the airflow the growth conditions are much more controlled, and it is possible to create ideal conditions for every stage of plant growth. With a closed growth facility from seed to ship the impact from weather, water or attacks from wildlife is eliminated. Organic seed and nutrients can be combined with a complete sustainability program if the End user should request it. With KE GreenDuct Eco, we offer a Cradle to Cradle-certified product and our documentation support international building certifications, such as DNGB, BREEAM and Green Building
Important input parameters to design an optimum microclimate
There are many variables: UV-light intensity, humidity, temperature, air movement, and irrigation methods. Moving the air over distance changes temperature and humidity levels, so placement of the KE GreenDuct inside the rack, or outside, type of material used, placement of the holes (angle) and the size are important elements to create an optimum climate. The target is to deliver the conditioned air evenly both in the width and in the length of the rack system to create a uniform growing environment for the crops. The main inputs for designing a well working KE GreenDuct system are.
- Airflow per fan or rack
- Measurement (drawing) of the rack system
- Placement of UV-light inside the racks
- Supply temperature, eventually cooling load if needed.
- Demands to air velocities over the crops to prevent stagnant air and to remove moisture in the air from plant and irrigation system. Typically, designed between 0,2 -0,5 m/s
- Heating, rarely required, unless the AC is used for both cooling and dehumidification (reheat cold air)
The key challenges are
KE GreenDuct is constantly testing vertical farming set-ups both in our own laboratory and on site and afterwards updating our self-developed software TBV-Designer, so that we can exactly predict air velocities over and in between the crops. Thereby actively being able to assist in the complete solution whereby light, nutrition, irrigation, carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity can be controlled per cultivation unit, precisely tailored to the growth phase of a specific crop.