Modern agriculture, forestry, and other land uses are accountable for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to FAO data. Agriculture is highly reliant on the use of artificial chemicals to produce food, which makes the sector highly polluting. A novel farming method called aquaponics aims to reduce this environmental burden and Tungsram has teamed up with InGreen, an aquaponics farming venture in the Czech Republic in a bid to serve sustainability and food security.
Put in the simplest terms, aquaponics is the cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. Based on a cooperation between plants and fish, the term originates from the word aquaculture (meaning the growing of fish in a closed environment) and hydroponics (the growing of plants usually in a soil-less environment). The key benefits of soil-less agriculture are numerous, including the decreased presence of soil-borne diseases and pathogens; improved growing conditions that can be manipulated to meet optimal plant requirements leading to increased yields; increased water- and fertilizer-use efficiency; and the possibility to develop agriculture where suitable land is not available.
The magic of aquaponics is that these systems convert fish waste to plant nutrition, which makes it an environmentally friendly food-growing method without the need to discard water, filtrate or add chemical fertilizers.
In Green is a recently established farming venture in the city of Kelčany (south Moravia, Czechia) that specializes in aquaponics. The two young entrepreneurs behind InGreen, Michal Tesařík and David Rakušan are as excited about the possibilities offered by this farming method as they are concerned about the future of the planet. “This type of farming combines IT skills with agricultural acumen and allows us to use 90 percent less water than traditional farming, no chemicals and pesticides,” says Michal Tesařík.
Being the only company to combine aquaponics with vertical farming in the Czech Republic, In Green grows over 1,000 pieces of leafy vegetables per month on an area of 6 square meters. They specialize in leafy greens with a special focus on lettuce and various herbs. As InGreen plans to significantly boost their production area in the short term and set up an automated farm, the company set out to find a lighting expert last year. “It’s very difficult to find a good lighting supplier as customers have an immensely wide range of providers to choose from. We tried many companies and compared their products, and found that Tungsram was the best,” says David Rakušan. The Budapest-based company’s flexibility to adjust its lamps to customer needs, the efficiency and high quality of its products, as well as the seamless technical support provided to clients were the decisive arguments in favor of Tungrsam.
Tailor-made lighting design
The cooperation with Tungsram started in June 2020 when the two sides commenced talks about the technical setup, crop definition, spectrum and light intensity requirements. Following several rounds of clarification Tungsram came up with a final lighting design, tailored to the specific needs of the customer. In Green purchased 600 fixed-spectrum Tungsram light bars that were set up on a 350-square meter cultivation area growing lettuce. The lamps are instrumental in helping plants reach a certain, pre-determined weight, shape, taste in a shorter period of time. InGreen has 14 harvesting cycles a year and Tungsram luminaries play a key role in ensuring that the compactness of the plants meets the company’s criteria and that they reach the target weight within a sufficient number of days.
The Budapest-based company also supplied experimental lamps with variable spectrum and lighting recipes to InGreen for the purpose of conducting laboratory research on different lettuce variants and other leafy greens. The research will aid their plans to increase the production area and expand their portfolio of products.
“We have big plans with Tungsram for the future,” Michal Tesařík says.
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