|Author: ||T. Kozai|
|Keywords: ||closed system, enriched CO2 utilization efficiency, light energy utilization efficiency, sustainability, water utilization efficiency|
This paper reviews the reasons why plant factories with artificial light are recently interested in society, requirements for sustainable plant factories, the opportunities and challenges involved in the development of the technology and industry, and types of the plants suitable for plant factories with artificial light.
Sustainable plant factories need to be designed and operated for producing high quality plants and transplants with minimum use of resource and minimum emissions of CO2 and environmental pollutants.
For this purpose, the concept of “closed system” has been proposed, which is a structure with minimum ventilation, covered with thermally insulated opaque walls, containing multi-tiers (or racks) with artificial light sources.
Advantages of this system over the greenhouse include: 1) culture period is shortened by 40-50% with uniform growth and high quality produce, 2) annual production capacity per floor area is 100-fold, and 3) percent reductions in resource consumption are considerable.
For example, percent reduction is 100% for pesticide and 95% for irrigation water.
Electricity consumption for producing one tomato transplant from a seed is about 300-400 kJ and its cost in Japan is about 1 JPY (0.008 Euro or 1 US cent as of 2011), and is 25 JPY for producing one butter head lettuce from a seed.
Methods of developing integrative environmental control and reducing electricity consumption are discussed based mainly on theoretical consideration.
Effects of environmental factors on the growth and development are beyond the scope of this paper.
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