At a Glance
This knowledge-based startup project is run by “UrbanPonics Middle East” as one of the Porteghal Accelerator projects. The main focus of the project is on developing practical and innovative solutions for vertical aeroponic growing systems. The project was defined and developed between August 2017 and October 2018 and during the initial studying phases, the negotiations, justification drafts, and technology transfers was completed with the support of Porteghal coach team and sponsored by Atrin Sanat Co. This project is being implemented in joint partnership with UrbanPonics Netherlands.
the unique features of Urban Ponics growing system are:
- Production of real nutritious food with a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.
- NO PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES OR FUNGICIDES: There is no need to use pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- LOW WATER CONSUMPTION: Reduction of water consumption with 90% compared to traditional methods.
- NO CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS: Chemical fertilizers are replaced by biological ones.
- QUICK ROI (RETURN ON INVESTMENT): Low CAPEX / OPEX and quick Return on the investment.
- TURN-KEY PROJECTS: Small sized, scalable turn-key projects for 1 until 1,000 PODs.
- INFIELD TRAINING: Training on the job that learns inexperienced growers to produce top quality products.
- VERTICAL GROWTH: High yield per square meter because of vertical growth.
- REAL-TIME DATA: Online monitoring system with user-specified access to the growing data (temperature, humidity, CO2 level, light intensity) and programmable alerts (low tank level, power failure, high-temperature etcetera)
- FAILPROOF DESIGN: Easy maintenance and locally available spare parts.
The Urban Ponics project seeks to grow plants vertically without the need for soil or water (aeroponic farming) based on urban agriculture principles. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium (known as geoponics). Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas. Urban agriculture can reflect varying levels of economic and social development. It may be a social movement for sustainable communities, where organic growers, “foodies,” and “locavores” form social networks founded on a shared ethos of nature and community holism. These networks can evolve when receiving formal institutional support, becoming integrated into local town planning as a “transition town” movement for sustainable urban development. For others, food security, nutrition, and income generation are key motivations for the practice. In either case, more direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat products through urban agriculture can improve food security and food safety. On the other hand, aeroponics is a method that is currently used by NASA to produce fresh fruits and plants for astronauts at space stations. In the development of aerospace farming techniques, NASA astronauts, in projects like “space plants,” used this method to process food at the International Space Station, and the research carried out in the laboratories launched by NASA played a key role in the development of this technology. In the Vertical Aeroponic Planting Systems (VAP), containers containing plants are placed over each other. The system is designed to easily move pots so that their biological requirements are met. This vertical system of aeroponic agriculture has a non-stop production cycle, and dissolved food elements are flowing into a closed circuit system. The amount of water consumed is very low due to the limitations of its absorption quantity. The benefits of this combination of aerospace and vertical urban agriculture include:
- Vertical cultivation without the need for soil and water
- Using water vapor and organic fertilizers
- Cultivation without the need for large growing fields
- Cooperating with European partners
- Economic justification and quick return investment