What is the plant factories?
A plant factory is a closed growing system which enables a farmer (agrotechnician) to achieve constant production of vegetables all year around. The facility utilizes artificial control of light, temperature, moisture, and carbon dioxide concentrations.
After years of exploration and development, China’s closed plant factories have made rapid progress in materials, equipment, and technology, and the production output has increased several times.
With the continuous improvement and improvement of plant technology, even miniaturized, mini-plant plants have been used in various environments in which people live, and plant factories are everywhere.
The following we will tell you the most used facilities and cultivation techniques in plant factories.
1. Classification of closed plant factories
There are many different types of plant factories, and here we have 5 of the most commonly used closed plant factories.
1.1 Idle factory and basement
Currently, there are idle houses, factories, parking lots and basements in almost every place. Plant factories are the best choice to take advantage of these idle resources and create higher value.
Transforming these idle resources into closed-type plant factories for high-yield, high-quality, high-efficiency plant production, both revitalizing idle resources and reducing costs, and creating high value, can be described as a multi-pronged.
1.2 Waste containers
Every year, a large number of containers are abandoned and abandoned in China. Transforming these used containers into artificial light-closed plant factories is also a new measure to improve resource utilization.
Containers come in a variety of different sizes, generally, 5 to 12 m in length and the height and width are almost the same, generally 2 to 3 m.
The artificial light-enclosed plant factory reconstructed from waste containers has the characteristics of good sealing, high safety, landscape, integrity and structure, convenient temperature control, convenient movement, long service life, and strong environmental adaptability.
A single box can be an independent plant factory, and multiple can also form a large plant factory, and multiple stacks can form a high-rise plant factory.
1.3 Foam boardroom
The artificial light type plant factory constructed with foam sandwich panels has the advantages of light material, low cost, short construction period and good sealing.
It can also achieve large, small, high and low free and easy to construct internal facilities.
It is widely favored by plant factory builders.
1.4 Inflatable film
The aerated membrane is a fully enclosed structural space formed by filling a polymer material (a film product made of high-strength carbon fiber and aerogel) with air.
The high-level three-dimensional plant cultivation system constructed in such a structural space is called a gas-filled membrane-closed plant factory.
This kind of inflatable membrane is an important branch of the light-weight space structure of the membrane.
It has a variety of colorful shapes and can be built into a giant inflatable membrane greenhouse with an area of more than 20 hm² and a height of more than 40 m.
It has excellent architectural characteristics, structural characteristics, and appropriate economy.
The aerated membrane structure is a relatively closed space structure, which is different from the traditional space structure.
It is blown to the inside of the structure by a fan to maintain a certain pressure difference inside and outside the membrane structure to ensure the rigidity and maintenance of the membrane structure system and shape.
The inflatable film has a colorful shape, and the inflatable house is designed to shape the inflatable film into a house.
The material of this inflatable house is high-strength carbon fiber, aerogel film, and air.
The outside is powered by solar energy.
The inside is information intelligence and plant factory system facilities, and the air is in the middle.
Such an inflatable house closed-type plant has the advantages of low cost, strong sealing, good integrity, and convenient use.
1.5 Too dense film
Over the years, the former Soviet Union has conducted long-term experiments on plant cultivation and food crop production on the “Salute Gun” and “Peace” space stations, from algae experiments such as cultivating chlorella to various flowers, vegetables, and food crops.
Plants have experienced a whole process from planting to harvesting in space, and have made breakthroughs; hundreds of plants have been cultivated on the “Peace” space station, and wheat and other food crops have been successfully planted.
China’s experimental planting of plants in the fully enclosed “Tiangong No. 1” has also been successful.
Chinese scientist Zhang Wei obtained the invention patent of “Space Rubik’s Inflatable Residence“.
The space shell wall shell is composed of one or more layers of high-strength airtight film similar to space suit material; the airtight film is opaque or transparent.
The plurality of cabins can be firmly connected to each other and maintained in a fully enclosed airtight state, which is filled with nitrogen gas, and has lightweight, low cost, high safety, good temperature resistance, and resistance compared with the metallic spacecraft.
The characteristics of strong pressure are important equipment and facilities for the future development and utilization of space resources, the construction of space plant factories, and the establishment of a life support system.
2. Cultivation forms of plant factories
Closed plant factories can be divided into flat multi-layer cultivation, multi-faceted three-dimensional cultivation, hanging three-dimensional cultivation, curtain wall three-dimensional cultivation, cylindrical three-dimensional cultivation, and other forms.
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2.1 Flat multi-layer cultivation
At present, most of the closed plant factories in Israel, the United States, Japan, and other countries, including China, generally adopt flat multi-layer cultivation.
This form of cultivation has been widely used in plant factories in non-agricultural sites such as old factories, vacant houses, and basements.
In the container-type closed plant factory, only two rows of cultivation racks can be designed.
Due to the height and space constraints, the cultivation form can only be 3-4 layers, because the flat multi-layer cultivation can only use nutrient solution water.
Peony technology, each layer needs to have the nutrition pool, cultivation board, LED fill light and vegetable plants and the space occupied by the cultivation rack.
Generally 65 to 70 cm per layer, which makes the expansion of the cultivation area limited. The yield and benefits can only be increased within a certain range.
In other closed plant factories, depending on the height and space of the facility, the plane can extend more layers to space.
So far, the closed plant factory of Zhejiang University in China has reached 10 floors, the largest 2300 m2 in the world.
The LED artificial light Japanese plant factory has been upgraded to 15 floors, and the yield and benefits have been greatly improved.
2.2 Polyhedral three-dimensional cultivation
The multi-faceted three-dimensional cultivation form is a form of independent innovation in China.
It is also produced in closed plant factories such as vacant houses, workshops, basements, and centralized boxes.
Compared with flat multi-layers, its effect has obvious advantages.
Taking a container-closed plant factory as an example, two sets of cultivation beds can be set up, and the plants can be cultivated on both sides of each group of cultivation beds.
There are 4 plant cultivation faces in the two sets of cultivation beds.
The polyhedral three-dimensional cultivation bed can adopt the fog culture technique. Instead of nutrient solution hydroponic technology, there is only one nutrient pool in each group of cultivation beds.
LED lights can be placed on the left and right walls and the middle aisle of the container, so that the utilization of light, water, fertilizer, and space is higher.
Due to the realization of water, Fertilizer and gas make up the plant faster, lower cost and lighter weight, and the yield is increased many times.
If the plant is produced by polyhedral cultivation in the closed aerated plant factory, the three-dimensional space is larger, the yield and The benefits will be maximized.
2.3 Curtain wall stereo cultivation
Curtain wall-type three-dimensional cultivation is the use of plants on the walls of closed plant factories or artificially designed walls.
Taking a container-type plant factory as an example, a cultivation bed is arranged on the wall of the container around the container.
Plants are cultivated on the cultivation bed by using Chaoxi culture technology, a nutrition pool is arranged under the cultivation bed, and LED fill light is installed on the top of the container.
Compared to the plane multilayer Stereo cultivation, this kind of light utilization is more complete, the layout is more reasonable, the operation is more convenient, the cultivation surface is larger, and the yield is higher.
If more, higher, and wider plant curtain wall plants are planted in a closed-type aerated membrane plant, the yield and efficiency are higher.
2.4 Hanging three-dimensional cultivation
The plant cultivation bed is hung on the top of the closed plant factory, and then planted, irrigated, fertilized and planted in a hanging cultivation bed for farming.
This is both an agricultural production and art of survival.
In any closed plant factory, the implementation of hanging three-dimensional cultivation for agricultural production can not only expand the area, increase the output, increase the efficiency, but also reduce the cost and improve the resource utilization rate, which is both ecologically friendly and sustainable.
Easy to operate and enhance the life experience.
2.5 Cylindrical three-dimensional cultivation
Planting plants on the surface of the cylinder, the three-dimensional cultivation area is larger, using fog culture technology, the plants grow faster.
However, in a closed container plant factory, because the environmental space is too small, it is not appropriate to use a cylindrical three-dimensional cultivation device.
While, in other types of closed type, especially in the case of cylindrical and three-dimensional cultivation in a gas-filled membrane and a gas-tight membrane closed the plant, the superiority will be more advanced.
3. How to choose the cultivation techniques for closed plant factories
For a variety of different plant factories, the choice of solutions is different due to various factors. Below is the comparison of cultivation techniques and how to choose the most suitable one for you.
3.1 Cultivation forms and cultivation techniques
Closed plant cultivation techniques can be divided into matrix culture, nutrient solution hydroponic culture, Chaoxi culture, and fog culture.
These cultivation techniques can be used alone or in combination but must be aimed at achieving high yield and high quality.
The choice of cultivation techniques is determined by the form of cultivation.
Generally speaking, once the cultivation form is determined, the cultivation technique is also determined. Advanced cultivation forms and matching cultivation techniques determine the yield, quality, and characteristics of closed plant plants.
3.2 Comparison of main cultivation forms and cultivation techniques
Take the 40HQ container-closed plant factory as an example. Most of the plant factories in China use the Japanese flat multi-layer cultivation method to match the nutrient solution hydroponic technology. The 40HQ container is 12 m long, 2.35 m wide and 2.39 m high with a space of 67.398 m².
In the case of flat multi-layer cultivation, the cultivation area on both sides of the middle aisle can be set up with 1 row of 12 m long cultivation frame, and the shelf can be set up with 3 layers of 60 cm wide cultivation bed, so that the actual 40HQ container space can be planted with an area of 43 m². If 12 plants per square meter can be planted, 518 plants can be planted in each batch, and 5180 plants can be planted in 10 batches throughout the year.
If the polyhedron is cultivated in three dimensions, one cultivation bed can be built in each of the two sides of the middle aisle. The cultivation bed is 12 m long and 2 m wide, and the area of each sheet can be 24 m² so that 4 cultivation areas can be built. That is, the actual cultivated area is 96 m², and 11 520 vegetables can be planted throughout the year.
In this way, the vegetables are cultivated in the same container, and the same area is planted in the same amount. Due to the different cultivation forms used, two results will appear correspondingly. Compared with the planar multi-layer cultivation, the actual cultivation area of the polyhedral three-dimensional cultivation And the number of cultivation has increased by 2.2 times.
In addition, the planar multi-layer three-dimensional cultivation form adopts nutrient liquid hydroponic technology, while the polyhedral three-dimensional cultivation adopts the mist culture technology.
Advantages of the polyhedral three-dimensional cultivation are also manifested in the following aspects:
(1) The nutrient solution hydroponic technology can only achieve water and fertilizer supplement for plants, and the fog culture technology can realize the water, fertilizer, and gas to make up the plants so that the plants grow faster. This is inimitable for any cultivation technology institute.
(2) In terms of the utilization rate of water and fertilizer resources, the fog culture technology realizes recycling, which is 1/10 of the water consumption of nutrient solution hydroponic technology, and the utilization rate of fertilizer in nutrient solution hydroponic technology is 60% to 70%. The utilization rate of fertilizer in the mist culture technology has reached more than 95%, and zero pollution and zero emissions have been realized.
(3) Nutrient solution hydroponic technology, in the high-temperature season, once the temperature of the nutrient solution reaches above 35 °C, the plant will stop growing or even wilting and dying. In the low-temperature season, once the temperature is below the lower limit of 0 °C, most of the time Plants will stop growing and even suffer from freezing damage, and under the same conditions, the cost of temperature control measures will be much lower.
There are many forms of three-dimensional cultivation, and there are many options for the cultivation techniques used. In the actual production practice, it is necessary to select different cultivation forms and suitable cultivation techniques according to different plant varieties, comprehensively consider various factors such as yield, ecology, cost, landscape, quality, and operation, and scientifically select optimal.
Have any questions about the plant factory facilities and cultivation technologies, please feel free to contact us. We Vanqled.com provide LED grow lights and Hydroponics system solutions, if you have any need, please email to Vanqled@Vanqled.Com.