Using over 17,000 LED lights, this Japanese lettuce farm grows lettuce over twice as fast as a traditional farm.
Half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet), this industrial lettuce farm produces over 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. With 18 cultivation racks spanning 16 levels high, it harnesses the power of 17,500 LEDs to make this seemingly wondrous vegetable production possible.By controlling a day-and-night cycle, it allows plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamaru to accelerate the growth of the plants. “What we need to do is not just setting up more days and nights,” he says. “We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and the environment.”
While this allows him to grow the lettuce two-and-a-half times faster than a traditional farm, it also cuts discarded produce from 50 percent to just 10 percent. This allows a 100-fold increase in productivity by square foot when compared to a traditional farm. Due to the the farm being indoors, Shimamaru is able to control the temperature, humidity, and irrigation of the farm, which results in him only needing to use 1 percent of the amount of water a traditional farm would use.Having originally started the indoor farming company called Mirai (Japanese for “future”) in 2004, Shimamura was approached by GE in 2011 with an idea to use their advanced LED lights to illuminate the farm. Using only 40% of the power of fluorescent lights, these LEDs also last much longer.
By using GE proprietary technology, they have been able to make the LED lights thin enough to fit inside the tightly packed stacks, and endure the high humidity of the factory. The Japanese GE team also believe that this is the future of farming, and could solve food shortages in the world. Mirai and GE are already working on creating these vegetable factories in Hong Kong and Russia.
With pollution and water scarcity becoming a real global threat, these farms will let us save the environment all whilst feeding those in need.