10th December 2020
Europe's largest vertical farm will have 1,000-tonne annual capacity
YesHealth Group and Nordic Harvest have completed the first phase of construction on Europe's largest vertical farm. It stands 14 levels high in a 7,000 sq. metre facility at Copenhagen Markets, on the outskirts of Denmark's capital.
A new vertical farm – Nordic Harvest – will be Europe's largest and most efficient when fully completed in late 2021. The indoor facility is being equipped with robotics, hydroponics, arrays of 20,000 LEDs, smart software and other technologies for processing more than 5,000 individual data points. It will run entirely on wind power, slashing the carbon footprint of production.
The project is in Taastrup, a suburb west of Copenhagen, Denmark. The team at Nordic Harvest are collaborating with YesHealth, a Taiwanese company which already operates the two largest and most energy efficient vertical farms in Asia. Working in partnership, they began building the vertical farm in April this year, and the first phase of construction is now completed.
Production will begin during the first quarter of 2021 and profits are projected within the first year, which could make this vertical farm a model of feasibility for the industry at large. The financial projections are based on a scale-up model, which will see the farm expanded from an initial 200-tonne annual capacity to a massive 1,000-tonne annual capacity by the fourth quarter of 2021.
"Adding to our technology that we've developed in-house over the past decade, YesHealth will now be able to harness real-world data from Denmark with its unique climate and environment, and improve our technology at an even greater speed and efficiency," said Tsai Wen-Chin, Chairman of YesHealth.
"This is a crucial step of our expansion into Europe, and is in-line with our global expansion plan, which we have carefully mapped out for the coming years," said Jesper Hansen, CCO of YesHealth Group. "YesHealth Group has industry leading technology and operational know-how, and we're selecting more regional partners with local market expertise like Nordic Harvest."
"This event represents a crucial milestone in our international expansion and our first step towards constructing more vertical farms across Europe, Asia, and the MENA region," said Kevin Lin, Director of Business Development at YesHealth Group.
Vertical farms could be a highly disruptive industry in the future, potentially revolutionising food production. Just some of the advantages offered by this new and emerging technology include: reliable, year-round crop production; plants unaffected by adverse weather or climate; better use of space; minimal water usage; zero chemicals or pesticides; and reduced transport costs.
Crop yields with vertical farming have the potential to be orders of magnitude greater per unit area than traditional field farms. One recent study found that wheat grown using a 10-layer indoor vertical farm could, in theory, have a yield between 220 and 600 times higher than current methods.
Vertical farming is expensive, however, with large upfront capital costs, and a number of technical challenges involving the artificial lighting, automation and watering processes. Most companies operating such facilities have been unprofitable. The project at Nordic Harvest is aiming to change that.
"Our team has worked tirelessly over the past eight months to bring this Copenhagen vertical farm into reality," said YesHealth Project Manager, Stella Tsai. "It's a valuable experience that we'll take forward into future projects."