London, December 13, 2022 – The SAVE Farming project will turbocharge Vertical Future’s research and will be a key step in the company’s contribution to the “30 by 30” initiative. The initiative is a Singaporean government target to produce 30% of the food consumed in Singapore within the country – of which currently more than 90% is imported. Vertical farming and optimised food production will be vitally important to ensuring an increased food supply with reduced environmental impacts and land usage.
VFS is a subsidiary of HSL, an experienced infrastructure construction company focusing on water, energy, food and environment infrastructure projects in Asia. With more than 1,000 staff and a 28-year history, HSL brings significant infrastructure and engineering experience, knowledge, and high level expertise into VFS and will be a critical part of the SAVE Farming project. The project was funded by both Innovate UK and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to broaden research and development (R&D) ties between the two nations.
By focusing on the development and deployment of enhanced water recycling and air-cooling technologies, SAVE Farming aims to dramatically improve the energy performance of vertical farms, especially in challenging climates in countries such as Singapore. The rollout of these technologies is key given the recent increases in energy, water, and consumable costs. SAVE farming will develop an add-on to Vertical Future’s advanced vertical farming systems to further reduce the amount of energy and water required for crop production. By combining a variety of approaches, the project will also reduce vertical farming’s reliance on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). The compounded efficiencies realised by the SAVE Farming project has the potential to reduce the cost of production by up to 30% compared to current benchmarks, making quality crops more affordable.
The new, fully integrated, system will be tested and deployed in two farms in two different climates. The first is at Vertical Future’s R&D centre in London and the second is in Singapore, located at HSL’s “AgriHub”, where the two parties have already committed to building a commercially producing farm. During early system development, the UK team will focus on nutrient use and uptake before the integration with Vertical Future’s existing systems, after which point parallel trials will continue with the Singapore team.
The crops in scope for the project will be ‘full sized’ Spinach, Pak Choi, Bayum, Basil, Coriander, and Shiso, representing crop types popular in Singapore. The non-indigenous varieties, such as Basil, are currently imported from Europe and the others are imported from surrounding countries such as Vietnam.
The project will be key to hastening the deployment of vertical farming systems in Asia, and help to drive sustainable food production globally.
Jamie Burrows, CEO and Founder of Vertical Future, said: “We are extremely excited to be collaborating with HSL, through VFS, to improve aspects of our system offering, also addressing specific issues in Singapore and the wider ASEAN region. This collaboration is designed to encourage the deployment of improved integrated systems across the ASEAN region, including larger-scale farms in Singapore. This will be critical if Singapore is to meet its “30 by 30” goal. The support of ESG and Innovate UK is a huge vote of confidence in Vertical Future’s proprietary hardware and software, and its continued evolution. Vertical Future looks forward to working with VFS and deepening our relationship to advance the global vertical farming industry and to collaborate with the broader CEA industry.”
Charles Quek, CEO of HSL and VFS, said: “The SAVE farming project between Vertical Future and VFS is a big step in Singapore’s agricultural history. To replace produce that is currently imported with freshly and locally-grown crops for buyers, grown in an energy and water-efficient system, will help move us towards a more sustainable future. We look forward to continuing our journey with Vertical Future and commencing the building of our collaborative commercially producing farm to further improve local food security.”
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