Indoor farming requires 95-98% less water and a significantly lower quantity of pesticides than cultivation outside. What is more, any plant variety can be cultivated anywhere in the world irrespective of climate.
At Tungsram, they are dreaming of a future in which the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices, and plants serving as the raw ingredients for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals can happen completely independently of season and geographical location, even in offices, residential properties and food stores. Experts from the company renowned for its innovation are working at full speed on research programmes linked to precision indoor farming.
Last April, Tungsram, which was founded in 1896, returned to the global market. The enterprise, which was always famous for its innovation, is not only continuing its established R&D activities in the field of lighting technology, but it is investing in new, dynamically growing sectors as well. One of these areas is precision indoor farming.
“The Tungsram Agritech division was established in autumn 2018. Our goal is the development of world-beating LED and smart solutions that can be successfully applied by enterprises active in the field of precision indoor farming,” says Zoltán Sejpes, head of Tungsram Agritech.
The corporate group employs more than 4000 people in 22 countries. Its global competitive strategy focuses on developing the type of technologies that will form the bases of the industries of the future.
“Forecasts suggest that, by 2050, the population of the world will have grown to more than nine billion, that is, over 70% more food will be required to feed this population than at present. Furthermore, 70% of the population will be living in urban areas, which is why it is necessary to position agricultural production on totally new foundations. There is critical need for a massive enhancement in efficiency, and precision indoor farming makes this possible. Through the application of shelving systems, for every unit of area there can be a capacity increase multiple of as much as several ten-folds compared to current outdoor technologies. Thus it comes as no surprise to know that projections by independent market researcher Strategies Unlimited estimate the size of the indoor farming market will grow from USD 500 million in 2018 to over USD 1000 million by 2020, and by 2024 the market will be worth more than USD 6700 million,” notes Zoltán Sejpes.
He reckons that the century of lighting technology know-how accrued at Tungsram represents an excellent base on which to become involved in R&D in this area, too. One of the objectives is to establish a research hub unique in Central-Eastern Europe, which – with the involvement of institutions of higher education, agricultural and industrial partners – will examine various plant varieties to determine exactly what amount and composition of light they require in their various segments of the life cycle for optimal growth.
As a first step, in December 2018 the company signed a trilateral declaration of intent for collaboration on carrying out joint industry-level research and development activities with Szent István University, renowned as a bastion of agro-education in Hungary, and Veresi Paradicsom Kft., under the patronage of the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology.
“We are dreaming of a future in which the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices, and plants serving as the raw ingredients for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals can happen completely independently of season and geographical location in the immediate environment of people, even in offices, private residential properties and food stores,” adds the expert.
With the assistance of LED technology, plants can be provided with the colour temperature that results in the most intensive growth and nutrient uptake in the given segment of the life cycle. Precision indoor farming requires 95-98% less water and a significantly lower quantity of pesticides than cultivation outside. What is more, any plant variety can be cultivated anywhere in the world irrespective of climate.