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LED Lighting to Help The Plant Farms To Produce Both Vegetables And Heat

Plantagon, a Swedish food technology company, has unveiled an office building design called the Plant Building and plans to build the first such grand indoor farm + office building in Linkoping, East Jotland, Sweden. Because of the farm's unique mode of operation, urban farmers who farm here don't have to pay any rent at all, because the farm generates enough heat to pay off.

Plantagon underground farms, like other indoor farms, grow plants in buildings with LED lighting. But Plantagon differs in that the heat generated by lighting in the original room is usually discharged from the room to prevent overheating of plants, but Plantagon collects it directly and stores it in the building's thermal storage system to help people in the office building keep warm in the cold winter.

The underground farm collects heat by storing it in water through a pipe above the LED light and leading it to a heat pump system. The thermal storage system will save the building 700,000 kilowatt-hours of energy a year, equivalent to three times the rent for the basement. In addition, the carbon dioxide produced in the office is emitted into the farm and the fresh oxygen produced by the farm vegetables and fruits is sent back to the workers.

"The builders agreed to let us rent free for three years, so we don't have to pay any Swedish kronor for this basement right now," says Hans Hassle, co-founder of Plantagon. "For urban farmers, if you really want to grow fruits and vegetables in the city, you have to find a new business model to produce them." The food is not so expensive. "

The company plans to sell vegetables and fruits directly to workers in the same building and two of its restaurants; about one-third of its production will be sold to neighboring grocery stores, so that no petroleum fuel is consumed, and another one-third will be sold at stores in the building.

"In Sweden, people are more interested in local food than in organic food," Hassle said. "People often wonder where food comes from. "

Hassle adds that if an organic lettuce is transported from hundreds or even thousands of miles away to a store, its environmental footprint may be higher than that produced on a local indoor farm.

Plantagon plans to open 10 underground farms in Stockholm over the next three years, starting with buildings already equipped with underground heat pumps. The team is also discussing with local energy companies the possibility of selling surplus heat to other buildings in the region.

In the city of Linkoping, two hours from Stockholm, the company is planning to scale up its underground farm to a 16-storey "plant skyscraper". In addition to the production of fruits and vegetables, two-thirds of the building will be rented out for office use to maintain stability. The plan is expected to be implemented in 2020 or 2021.

Plantagon another similar indoor farm project will also be implemented in Singapore. In this land-poor country, most of its crops are imported from neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia, where there is less irrigable land and a growing population, Singapore is beginning to take an interest in the Planagon metropolitan farm, which can grow food in its own territory. Similarly, some cities in China that are hard to get enough food have begun to cooperate with Plantagon.

The company is raising funds from the crowd raising platform FundedByMe to build first farms. Hassle wants the program to involve as many people as possible, not only for financial reasons, but also because he believes that every citizen needs to actively become a shareholder in urban agriculture.

"For us, food is different from other businesses. Food is like water. It's part of human rights," Hassle says. "So we have greater social responsibility and environmental responsibility, and that's why we're actively inviting people to have a stake because everyone should contribute. "