Integrated Vertical Aeroponic Farming System: Towards Food Security and Sustainability in Singapore

Project Number
SMF-Farming System

Project Duration
October 2012 - September 2016

Status
Completed

Abstract
Vegetables that contain most of the essential components of human nutrition are perishable and cannot be stocked. To secure vegetable supply and to compensate for the lack of available land and the increasing population, Singapore needs to develop farming systems that can increase productivity many-fold per unit of land. Hence, we propose to expand Singapore’s urban farming by developing an integrated vertical farming system, which would involve the stacking of growing units one over the other, perhaps up to 6 aeroponic troughs per module. Assuming equal productivity per trough, this would increase productivity per unit area by 6-fold. Vertically stacking troughs one over the other may cause the physical weight of the growing system to become problematic, yet a lightweight aeroponic system would represent an ideal growing method. This research project will design and develop an integrated vertical aeroponic farming (VAF) system. The key factor that determines the success of VAF system is the provision of uniform light intensity to the plants. This project will utilize low energy input engineering solutions such as monochromic light emitting diodes (LED) to enhance photosynthesis and thus, maximise crop density and productivity of specific crops. Our proposed VAF system will also control root zone environmental variables such as temperature and nutrient spraying frequency to improve crop productivity and resource use efficiency. Extensive development of VAF systems would diminish Singapore’s reliance on vegetable imports, thus enhancing national food security. Such an approach will not require additional land as such a model could make use of several empty industrial buildings to be vegetable farms since these manufacturing activities have been moved to other neighbouring countries. This provides an alternative usage of the empty buildings.

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