Image Credit: OmegaGarden
When I wrote about marijuana as a possible gateway to farming, I noted that much of the hydroponic supply market seems to be marketed toward, shall we say, recreational growers of certain herbs - and often not very subtly. But as we've seen, hydroponics also has applications in everything from rooftop agriculture to integrated backyard aquaponics. But how energy and water efficient is it to grow under lights and without soil? One Vancouver-based company is aiming to optimize the efficiency of hydroponics with these rotary hydroponic ferris wheels. And they are marketing themselves firmly to the urban farming crowd, before you ask.
John has already written about the Valcent high density vertical growth garden, a system that is being put to use at Paignton Zoo's vertical farm in the UK. But here's a different take on a similar concept.
OmegaGarden Hydroponics Design has put together three rotary ferris wheel-type grow products that rotate plants around a central light - aiming to maximise plant growth for each unit of electricity. From the Volksgarden rotary hydroponic set-up - which has a capacity of 80 plants, through to the fully automated Carousel which claims to provide 1500 sq. ft. of greenhouse yet only using 150 sq. ft. of floor space!
In terms of efficiency, the company claims that the system can yield 3-5 times the typical harvest of a flat or tiered garden. It is also compatible with fluorescent and LED grow lights, which would significantly cut power consumption. The company also claims that the system uses just 1% of the water required for traditional agriculture. (As one commenter to my marijuana post pointed out - hydroponics can be very water efficient because there is none of the evaporation and soil seepage associated with soil-based growing.)
Check out the system in action in the Weather Network interview below. Fascinating stuff...