Plants that use artificial light and nutrient solutions to grow leafy vegetables are nothing new.One plant in chiba prefecture, near Tokyo, is different in that it automates the process of growing vegetables from a conveyor belt that carries boxes of seedlings to a plant set up in an underground space, to a conveyor belt that eventually sends the grown vegetables to the ground.
It is the world's first fully automated underground plant plant, housed in an unused underground municipal utility pipeline.The 3.1-kilometer-long underground tunnel, which is about 5 meters above the ground, 6 meters to 8 meters wide and 4 meters high, was first built in 1995.Idon electric, which develops automation equipment, teamed up with the chiba prefecture enterprise land management bureau to put the unused underground tunnel to use, completing the unique plant plant in December 2017.
According to tatsuaki okada, head of plant plant development headquarters of ITO electric power company, the plant plant began experimental cultivation in December 2017, and can produce 200 vegetables every day, including leafy vegetables such as lettuce and edible flowers.The plant is scheduled to enter the production period by 2020, producing 2,500 plants a day, and expand to 5,000 plants a day by 2022.By then, the underground plant plant area will reach about 3,200 square meters, and the above ground area will reach about 600 square meters.
Part of the tunnel has been opened up as a fully enclosed plant growing area, covering an area of about 120 square meters.
According to Mr Okada exhibition Ming, the plant factory has achieved full automation, cultivating good plants on the ground, the modular plants box through a conveyor belt into underground, underground plant factory of LED light and nutrient solution can be done automatically, plants in underground plant factory after 24 days cultivation can be on the conveyor belt to the ground for sale.
The staff also served fresh lettuce for reporters to taste.Grown entirely in a clean environment, these lettuces can be eaten without washing and taste great.
Mr. Okada said the plant now sells vegetables at the same price as regular lettuces, and there is room to cut costs further.When the daily yield reaches 5000 plants, only about 10 staff are needed on the ground for seedling cultivation, harvesting and equipment maintenance.In the future, they plan to develop more automation equipment, with the goal of reducing costs by 20%.
According to toqi jianwen, deputy director of the chiba prefecture enterprise land management bureau, the plant plant normally USES a lot of electricity to control the temperature and light, but the plant plant is located in an underground tunnel with constant temperature and humidity all year round, which can save a lot of money on air-conditioning electricity.In addition, due to the close proximity to the consumer market, the vegetables produced do not need to be transported long distance, saving a lot of logistics costs.