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  • I'd love to see those things replace conventional farms. The food supply would be much better protected against things like drought, screwy weather, new invasive pests, etc. It would probably be much safer and easier work for ag laborers too.

    I understand the big thing keeping much of that from happening is the cost of energy for all those grow lights.
  • That is so cool.
  • Riche: I'd love to see those things replace conventional farms. The food supply would be much better protected against things like drought, screwy weather, new invasive pests, etc. It would probably be much safer and easier work for ag laborers too.

    I understand the big thing keeping much of that from happening is the cost of energy for all those grow lights.


    I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.
  • I used to ride the train to Manhattan right past these old ironworks, remember about six years ago when this guy had this idea for the place. Very cool to see this come to fruition.
  • It's good for low-calorie stuff like lettuce which grows quickly and doesn't have a lot of non-edible parts. I'm not sure how the economics work out for crops like corn or potatoes. Sunlight's free in the middle of Iowa, but not on floor 18 of a downtown skyscraper.

    Stibium: I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.


    You're limited to the portion of the building which is exposed to sunlight. There's one rooftop's worth of collecting area to supply however many floors of growing crops (assuming that the sides of the building are shadowed by someone else's vertical farm or apartment tower next door).

    The real answer is to build a bunch of modern nuclear power plants using reprocessed fuel and/or thorium breeder cycles to supply electricity and (where needed) to desalinate ocean water, but that's not going to happen.
  • Put some of those vacant office buildings and factories to use again.  "Farm to Fork in Five City Blocks"
  • Growing in the middle of a city, you reduce the long range transportation cost quite a bit.
  • So I click on the link, and what pops up at the start of the video?

    A Dominos ad.
  • Cool. More of this.
  • so everybody is moving to the farout suburbs that used to be farmland and your turning downtown industrial places into farms... seems efficient.
  • Another variation of "let's solve a problem created by structural racism with a community garden."
  • Terrible tour, love the idea, though. I always wanted to do this with a shipping container but just never found the time.
  • I wonder if people could design a system of mirrors to get sunlight in to do the job of the LEDs? That'd save on energy costs during the day I'd guess if done right.
  • Ivo Shandor: It's good for low-calorie stuff like lettuce which grows quickly and doesn't have a lot of non-edible parts. I'm not sure how the economics work out for crops like corn or potatoes. Sunlight's free in the middle of Iowa, but not on floor 18 of a downtown skyscraper.

    Stibium: I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.

    You're limited to the portion of the building which is exposed to sunlight. There's one rooftop's worth of collecting area to supply however many floors of growing crops (assuming that the sides of the building are shadowed by someone else's vertical farm or apartment tower next door).

    The real answer is to build a bunch of modern nuclear power plants using reprocessed fuel and/or thorium breeder cycles to supply electricity and (where needed) to desalinate ocean water, but that's not going to happen.


    Right, that's more of a larger roof area to height plan, like an abandoned Wal-Mart or something where you don't have access to so many levels.

    Could be useful for the developing world if it could be made cheaply.  Those fresnel lenses from projection TVs would be useful to focus it into a glass collimator and then into acrylic.
  • Nimbull: I wonder if people could design a system of mirrors to get sunlight in to do the job of the LEDs? That'd save on energy costs during the day I'd guess if done right.


    Probably not mirrors alone, they'd be too bulky and unless they're in the space where the LEDs are, the light would be distributed unevenly, and probably block off an access side.

    If they could concentrate the sunlight, though, using mirrors on the roof, then there's a very slight possibility they could use a large version of the light guide and reflector that you get in LCD screens (the one they use for edge lit LCDs). That way they could have the light moving to the far ends of each column, then evenly spread across the plants without taking up a lot of space or interfering with the LEDs.

    Then just have light sensors that wind the LEDs up and down based on the supplied sunlight (so it's automatic on cloudy days and whatever).
  • Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.
  • It could be a useful purpose for that gigantic mall that was wisely built recently in New Jersey.
  • Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.


    So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?
  • Jersey has finally run out of places where we can dig without hitting a body.
  • Virus or bacterial infection could wipe it out. You would have to formaldehyde bomb it to start over. The problem is that the environment could be TOO clean. With food processing you get stuff like listeria when that happens.
  • scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

    So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?


    Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.
  • Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

    So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

    Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.


    Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

    Words mean things.
  • scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

    So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?


    Closer to 500. A sodium light puts out 2/3 of the energy as heat and 1/3 as light. LED lights, if you include the heat generated by the control ballast, put out 2/3 light and 1/3 heat. This means for a fixed amount of power or heat you get double the light. You can get some very cool LED strips that are mostly just light output but the voltage controller still puts out a fair amount of heat. You can put the control gear outside your growing area though so the heat in the growing area can be almost nothing. This is not possible with HID lights as most of the heat is put out by the bulb. One upside of this is a reduction in equipment needed to maintain the environment around the plant, this also lowers electricity consumption.

    This means you can keep your plants closer to the perfect temperature and humidity for growth so the benefits can be more than the expected double.
  • scanman61: Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
    Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
    Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

    So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

    Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.

    Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

    Words mean things.


    And when talking about plants you would use PAR (photosynthetic active radiation). Lumens are used when rating bulbs for your human eyes, PAR is used when you want to know how much of the light can be used for photosynthesis.
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