Vertical farming gets boost from agri-tech startup
Vertical farming, a new technology where plants are grown indoors under LED lights, promises healthier and more sustainable food production, but new research tools are needed to fulfil its potential.
Agri-tech startup Grobotic Systems believes the best way to deliver this promise is with their latest invention, a new class of plant growth chamber loaded with high-tech sensors and plugged into the internet. This state-of-the-art growth chamber will help vertical farmers identify the best way to grow plants to produce the most nutritious and environmentally-friendly food possible.
Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has just awarded Grobotic Systems and their consortium partners a grant worth £566,000 to fund the development of their cutting-edge growth chamber, and to support the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to transform food production.
This project builds on the patent-pending growth chamber technology developed by Grobotic Systems over the past year. Grobotic Systems will lead this project in collaboration with partners from the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Stockbridge Technology Centre, and the University of Sheffield.
Founded in 2018 by Dr Alexis Moschopoulos, a plant geneticist, and Richard Banks, an electronics engineer, Grobotic Systems is a Yorkshire-based startup engaged in the design and manufacture of innovative plant growth chambers for plant science research.
Managing director Dr Moschopoulos:
“Through collaborating with industry leaders in photonics, controlled environment agriculture, and plant physiology, this funding enables Grobotic Systems to recruit additional staff, accelerate product development, and access the rapidly growing global vertical farming market with our innovative growth chamber technologies.”
“Driven by the need to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, and to improve the nutritional quality and availability of fresh produce, the vertical farming market is a very exciting place to be for an agri-tech startup like Grobotic Systems. Our novel technologies will help farmers grow healthier food more efficiently - that is better for the environment, better for the farmer, and better for the consumer.”