Vertical farms without daylight

April 30, 2020 // By Julien Happich
Vertical farms
Signify and Russian farming enterprise RIAT have pioneered the growth of tomatoes and cucumbers in a vertical farm without daylight. During the research phase in 2019, RIAT achieved a yield comparable to advanced traditional greenhouses using Philips GreenPower LED grow lights.

“We already had facilities of sufficient height at our disposal, therefore there was no need to invest in building a glass construction. But as the building had no windows, we needed a high-quality lighting system to fulfil the intensive lighting requirements of tomatoes and cucumbers,” says Vladimir Bukharev, director at RIAT. “In 2019, Signify provided its Philips GreenPower LED grow lighting, helping us to achieve a yield performance comparable to traditional greenhouse operations.”

RIAT’s indoor farm is located in the center of the Ivanovo region, enabling the company to distribute its tomatoes, cucumbers and 19 types of green crops to its own RIAT stores within an hour after harvesting. RIAT has a special technique to fold the long stems, allowing it to grow the 3.5m high plants indoors.

“With a harvest of 2.7 to 3.2 kg of cucumbers per m2 every week, and 1.7 kg per m2 of tomatoes, we started making a profit as of the second year of operation,” Bukharev added. “In addition to that, the quality of the product is very high, there’s hardly any waste and we sell 99% of what is being grown.”

“To mimic nature as much as possible, RIAT has chosen a combination of different kinds of Philips GreenPower LED toplighting and interlighting, bringing light both from the top and right in the canopy where the light is needed the most for photosynthesis. While using different kinds of lights, the light recipe can be adjusted based on the crop that is grown,” said Sergey Khokhrin, business Development Manager CEE/Russia & CIS at Signify.

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