“The United Nations (UN) predicts the world’ s population will grow by some 2.5 billion people by 2050, and 80 percent of the world’ s population will live in cities. At the same time, 80 percent of the land that is suitable for growing food is already in use. Moreover, extreme weather patterns across the globe have devastated crops, creating higher food prices, and as consumers become more conscious of how their food is produced, it is becoming more difficult for farmers to keep up with urban growth. This is driving innovation of new farming technologies that allow plants to grow without sunlight in indoor environments close to or within cities.” - PHILIPS
One way to dramatically improve the NGCC power plant option is to mitigate its potential CO2 emissions by introducing a cost-effective form of CO2 sequestration. A solution for this will be to establish a vertical farm operation adjacent to the NGCC plant to capture the majority, if not all, of the CO2 and sequester it in plants to be grown in the vertical farms. Because of the volume of CO2 available, 4 SKIES also recommend utilizing vertical farming techniques which employ LED lighting. Vertical farming makes more efficient use of land, water and energy to grow food free of pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and GMO seeds. Additionally, they create dramatically fewer emissions caused by the transportation of food. The optimization of the cultivation process means a better return on investment and a consistent quality of product for customers.
As the global population is estimated to exceed 7.5 billion people by 2030, this sustainable method of farming will become commonplace.
The Tri-Gen-Zero model results in an environmentally smaller footprint which can produce high volumes of quality produce year-round to regional consumers, while conserving energy and water.
Special low energy LED lighting illuminate plants from germination to fully mature plants with the correct lighting formula to ensure optimum and uniform growth. Growers can control the exact duration, brightness and spectra of light each crop of produce gets, ensuring consistent growth all year round. With LED lighting, it is possible to grow crops like herbs, leafy salads, flowers and strawberries year-round. This would not have been possible previously, because a multi-tiered system in a greenhouse would result in the lower layers of plants being sheltered from daylight.
4 SKIES will collaborate with IGES Canada Ltd. and others to involve experienced scientists, horticulturalists, and lighting technicians to plan large scale produce growing facilities. This state-of-the–art facility will use the CO2 and waste heat available from the generators to grow fruits and vegetables year-round. 4 SKIES envisions the facility will comprise vertical farming operations. Although food crops would be the focus of the vertical farm facilities, certain herbs, and spices, including indigenous medicinal plants, as well as some species of flowers, would also be considered. A special section would also be reserved for silviculture to provide seedlings for reforestation projects.
In addition to the produce growing facilities, 4 SKIES envisions an R&D facility established onsite to study the effects of CO2 on various horticulture techniques, crop combinations, lighting systems, hydroponics, organic plant food, and plant nutrition. Part of the R&D center, will be an algae production facility not only to produce food for the plants, but to study the use of various algae types for their optimization as animal feed and biofuel production. To complete the produce growing facility, 4 SKIES envisions an onsite clean water plant to take advantage of waste heat from the NGCC plant to purify fresh water into distilled water for use in the produce facilities to water the plants. This will ensure the plants are organically pure and free from contaminants.
To recycle the waste from the vertical farms, 4 SKIES envisions setting aside space on the site for an anaerobic digester facility to process organic waste to produce biogas that can be refined into natural gas for use by the NG power plant. In addition to biogas, the anaerobic digester will produce nutrient rich digestate residue which can easily be processed into bio-fertilizers (solid and liquid) for use in the vertical farms or sold to area gardeners and farmers.