World's First Floating Farm: Robot Milks Cows LED Lights Grow Grass

- Jun 20, 2019-

This year, the world's first floating farm opened in Merwehaven, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to help the city continue to produce more of its own food, the BBC reported.Dutch property company Beladon is building the world's first "floating farm" in Rotterdam's port of merv and will use it to raise 40 meuse-rhine-issel cows.


          The world's first floating farm in Merwehaven, Rotterdam, is being milked by robots for 40 cows

Notably, there are robots to help with milking.Beladon's three-story, anchored farm is expected to open by the end of 2018 and produce about 800 liters of milk a day.


                             Artist's rendering of a floating farm used to raise cattle, fish and crops.

The building floats on the sea and is connected to the land by three corridors.In this way, the building is in contact with the land.Two corridors lead to the upper and lower levels.The upper floor is used to raise cattle, which is a living space, decorated like a small park, with trees.The design of the lower layer is more diverse, including forage area, milk production area, waste collection of cattle, seawater desalination and energy production.

Peter van Wingerden, an engineer at Beladon, first came up with the idea of floating farms in 2012, when he was working on a floating housing project on the Hudson river in New York.There, hurricane sandy hit city streets and knocked out transportation networks.The goods were hard to deliver and fresh produce was hard to find in the shops within two days.

"I was shocked to see the devastation from hurricane sandy and the need to produce food as close to consumers as possible," van wingden said.So the idea was to produce fresh food on the water in a way that would adapt to climate change."He added that the concept could also help ward off hurricanes."With the growing demand for healthy food, rapid urbanization and climate change, we can no longer rely on the food production system of the past," he said.

Later in 2012, van wingden's team began designing and communicating with the Rotterdam port authority.Its floating platform was transported by barge from Zaandam in the north of the Netherlands to Rotterdam earlier this summer.

Minke van Wingerden, Mr. Van Wingerden's wife and business partner, said the farm would start with 40 cows, enough to break even.But she said floating farms were "easy to scale up" and that larger operations were expected to be "significantly more efficient".The farm also aims to reuse and recycle as much material as possible.

"At least 80 percent of what our cows eat is waste from Rotterdam's food industry," said Albert Boersen, the floating farm's general manager.This could include grain discarded by local breweries, leftovers from restaurants and cafes, by-products from local wheat processing plants and even grass clippings collected and transported by electric trucks of GroenCollect, a local "green waste" company.

"We will also grow duckweed for animal feed.Rich in protein, it grows quickly and can be fed in cow urine.We will install four or five vertical platforms under special LED lights to grow these plants."


                        The cows' feed will be collected in electric vans from restaurants and breweries


The other forage is produced using a greenhouse and LED lights.Soilless cultivation is realized through greenhouse, and the growth rate of grass is greatly improved by LED lighting.

The project could even generate some energy, such as hydrogen through electrolysis of solar panels.Once operational, the floating farm will produce and sell milk and yogurt on site in Rotterdam.It also processes and sells cow dung.



       In the design concept, the floating farm is a closed loop that can achieve energy self-sufficiency.

Floating farms can be built not only in the sea, but also in rivers, lakes and other places where there is water."It only takes two metres of water to build a floating farm," said the designer.

Next, the designers plan to apply the floating farm concept to more areas: the next target is a floating chicken farm with an estimated 8,000 chickens.In addition, he plans to move his vegetable greenhouse to the sea to realize his dream of farming in the city.

They say the offshore farms are in line with modern concepts, changing the idea of traditional farms that are unaffected by the climate.He does, however, acknowledge that such offshore farms cost more, but that they can be compensated for by reducing the distance products travel.They believe it should be a model for more such floating farms along urban rivers.



            Other floating farms: this floating farm by Forward Thinking Architecture in Barcelona, Spain

If, as expected, the global population grows to 9.8 billion by 2050, and 70% of the population will live in cities, urban indoor farms will become indispensable.In these indoor farms, crops are grown vertically on rows of shelves under ultraviolet or LED lighting.But can such farms produce enough food to feed the world's growing urban population?

Dr. Fenton Beed is a manager at the United Nations food and agriculture organization. He says urban farms are useful because they use less water, fertilizers and pesticides than traditional production systems.But he also acknowledged that limited space could prevent the production of enough food to meet the needs of the world's rapidly growing urban population.

"The constraints to producing food in a controlled environment include initial investment, LED lighting and the cost of sustained energy supplies," Dr. Bader said.


                                                   Plenty grows crops vertically inside

But that fear hasn't stopped companies like Plenty from attracting Plenty of investment.The SAN francisco-based start-up produces leafy greens on an indoor farm and claims to be 350 times more efficient per square metre than an outdoor farm.Its crops are grown on vertical poles six metres high, using hydroponics (water-only cropping systems) and LED lighting, without using soil or pesticides.Infrared sensors monitor crop growth so the system can adjust light, heat and water flow accordingly.

Plenty has raised $226 million since it launched in 2013. Investors include amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, softbank's vision fund and Innovation Endeavors.This year it will expand its operations in the us and open its first farm in the Middle East.


                                   Spread's Techno Farm concept is attracting investment

Spread, a Japanese company, is another company developing automated vegetable growing technology in a vertical urban environment.