ModuleX: The Modular Plant Factory

Smart engineering for scalability, adaptability, and efficiency

The ModuleX is our second-generation plant factory, engineered with commercial success in mind. It can be configured starting at one grow module, so your plant factory is scalable with the growth of your business.

One grow module features 86 m2 (926 sq. ft.) of growing surface. And each separate module allows for an independent climate zone and nutrient system, allowing your mix of crops to be adaptable to your customers’ needs. The labour costs are reduced by our patented, automated crop-to-person ‘BenchCarousel’. This is the most efficient solution to maximise your return on investment.

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Scalable

Minimise your CAPEX by starting up small with a single module. With a short lead time, you can add grow modules to your business as you need.

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Adaptable

Each grow module has an independent climate zone and nutrient system, allowing you to grow crops originating from different climates side-by-side.

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Efficient

The rotating BenchCarousel reduces labour costs, while eliminating the central corridor and increasing growth surface, and plant exposure to light.

Scalable

Start up small, prove your business model, scale up fast

The ModuleX is smart engineered with commercial needs and success in mind. You can therefore start up with a single module and grow up to a Module-64 (and beyond). As you develop new routes into the market, and attract more customers, you and continue adding grow modules to scale up your production to meet demand.

Efficient

Automated bench handling, higher growth surface, optimal light exposure

The ModuleX is our most efficient solution. Each grow module is built into a 40 ft. container and is fitted with an automated crop-to-person bench handling system – our very own patented ‘BenchCarousel’. The BenchCarousel is designed to reduce labour costs by bringing each bench to you within 90-seconds for planting, crop control, and harvesting. Each grow module is fitted with two BenchCarousels, for a total of four growing layers. Handling a single bench is the equivalent of handling four gullies (irrigation gutters) at the same time.

The innovative design eliminates the need for a central corridor, thereby resulting in an increased growing surface, with higher plant density and increased yields. Each grow module contains an industry record of 86m2 (926 sq. ft.) of growing surface.

The rotating BenchCarousel moreover ensures that all crops have optimal and uniform exposure to LED light, by receiving 200+μmol of LED light close to the canopy (per rotation, every 90-seconds). And the individual benches allow for multiple growing combinations within the same climate zone, without disturbing one another.

You can therefore grow different herbs, leafy greens, and microgreens in the same grow module, with allocated benches. The benches can moreover be optimised for maximum plant density. For example, with Basil Genovese, we have achieved 220% higher planting density in our ModuleX system than with a gully/gutter-based system.

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Reduced labour cost, and easy operation

The automated BenchCarousel brings any growing bench to you within 90-seconds, at the push of a button so you have access to any bench to start harvesting, or to check on the health of your crops. We also offer several periphery products for differing levels of automation (seeding machines, bench and tray washing machines, transplanting machines, substrate filling, etc.).

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Industry record growing surface achieved

The BenchCarousel eliminates the need for a central corridor, resulting in an increased growing surface, with higher plant density and increased yields. Achieving an industry record of 86m2 (926 sq. ft.) of growing surface per grow module. Ultimately leading to the best price per metre square of our solutions. Consult our Crop Guide for the most updated yield data.

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Optimal light exposure, with optimal electricity use

The rotating BenchCarousel moreover ensures that all crops have optimal and uniform exposure to LED light, by receiving 200+μmol of LED light close to the canopy (per rotation, every 90-seconds, for 90-seconds). And the individual benches allow for multiple growing combinations within the same climate zone, without disturbing one another.

Adaptable

Independent climate zones & nutrient systems for maximum adaptability

Each grow module features 86 m2 (926 sq. ft.) of growing surface. And each with an independent climate zone and nutrient system, enabling you to grow crops originating from different climates side-by-side. With a short lead time, you can add grow modules to your business as you need, and adapt to the needs of your customers and your market.

At the Start-Up,
the customer needs are 2 crops:

  • Basil : 425 kg (937 lbs) / week (ClimateZone ‘Italy’) – 4 Grow Modules used
  • Romaine Lettuce : 450 kg (993 lbs) / week (ClimateZone ‘France’) – 4 Grow Modules used

One Year Later,
the customer now requires 1 extra crop:

  • Basil : 318 kg (702 lbs) / week (ClimateZone ‘Italy’) – 3 Grow Modules used
  • Romaine Lettuce : 338 kg (745 lbs) / week (ClimateZone ‘France’) – 3 Grow Modules used
  • Microgreens : 334 kg (736 lbs) / week (ClimateZone ‘France’, with separate nutrient formula) – 2 Grow Modules used
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Frequently Asked Questions

Crops

We have grown more than 200+ crops over the past 6 years, and have made a selection of crops which have given superb results in our systems. You can find the list of these crops in the Crop Guide, which can be requested on our home page.

Yes, you can grow nearly any crop in our Plant Factories and we will be happy to help you on your journey to “Grow-How”. Our Research Center is available for the development of your specific growth recipe and for contract research.

Find out more about the next steps on our Indoor Biology page where you can also contact us for more information.

Yes and No. Each crop has an optimal climate and nutrition recipe. Therefore, growing a crop at a different temperature, relative humidity, CO2 level or with a different nutrient mix can lead to Net Yields that can be lower than what we validated in our Research Center; and lower than what we list in our crop guide. To simplify the planning of your crop mix, we work with ‘Climate Zones’ and standardized nutrient formulations.

With the information of 200+ crops listed in our Crop Guide and based on your labor & electricity costs, we offer the ModuleX “feasibility calculator” free of charge, after an intake conversation. The feasibility calculator includes the intelligence of the different Climate Zones for each crop.

Next, in the business planning phase, we help you decide which crops can be grown within the same climate zone. We help you find the economic trade-off between expected yield loss and maximum factory capacity utilization.

Location

We sell our systems and provide support on-site or remotely (including start-up) all over the world. Currently, we have customers on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania).

Most of our systems (ModuleX, FarmPro, FarmFlex and FarmLab) don’t require a building and can be placed outdoors. The Large Scale Plant Factory is custom Engineered inside a new or existing stand-alone building.

Whether it is cold like in Canada, dry like in Dubai, hot like in Australia, or full of hurricanes like in the Caribbean, our Indoor Plant Factories can handle it all!

Grow Modules

The following two parameters are important to know in order to make a ROI calculation:

  1. Gross to Net Yield loss: How many kgs/lbs of yields do you need to remove from the crops to obtain the net yield that your customer is willing to pay for?
  2. Number of days that the factory is being operated: we typically calculate with 350 growing days/year, which allows for periodic cleaning and disinfection

 

We calculate full production costs based on the specifications which your client will need (ex. with the roots/ with the stems/ only the leaves) and your input costs (labor, water, electricity, rent, etc).

Once this information is known, the ROI will depend strongly on the sales price which varies from one region or city to another. It also varies according to the route to market (wholesale or retail, farmer’s market, …) or application (high end restaurants? Processed veggies?). If the results of the feasibility calculator, which we are offering you free of charge, make no “business sense”, you will know right away.

The ModuleX is a modular Plant Factory system that can be configured between 2 to 64 Grow Modules which are housed in 40ft freight containers. The PlantFactory is scalable with the growth of your business. One GrowModule features 86 m2 (926 sq.ft) of growing surface, yielding about 6.140 kg/year (13.536 lbs/year) of fresh vegetables. Each separate module allows for an independent climate and nutrient system, allowing your mix of crops to be adaptable to your customers’ needs. The base price is an industry-low CAPEX of 1.800 EUR/m² per growing surface (approx. 192 USD/sqft). The labor costs are reduced by the automated crop-to-person ‘BenchCarousel’. This is the most efficient solution to maximize your return on investment.

We have patented the BenchCarousel, an innovative Bench handling system that reduces labor costs, maximizes growing surface within a 40ft container and increases yield through a high plant density and an optimal exposure to LED light.

We only use new shipping containers which were made-to-order to ensure special flooring to ensure food safety and easy cleaning.

Every Module is inside a 40ft insulated shipping container (“Reefer container”) and has 4 layers. Stacking of Modules on top of each other is possible (ex. 2 modules on top of each other), however, the lengths and the number of layers within one Module are currently fixed.

Yes! You can use alternative energy for our systems. In fact, one of our customers uses 100% wind energy and also produces bio-gas from food waste.

Support

We have developed a ‘Journey to Profit’, where we offer you end-to-end support : from the planning stage, through training, startup and 1st harvest, all the way through your scale-up to a large commercial grower.

A normal startup consists of a 2-day Technical and Biological training at our Research Center in Belgium, where you learn all about indoor biology and where you get the opportunity to operate a Grow Module yourself. When the Grow Module(s) arrive at your location, our technical team will assist you in the start up and the 1st harvest.

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For cities or regions with severe travel restrictions, we have reconfigured our support : everything can now be done remotely. We have now successfully educated, planned, trained, and started up our 1st FarmPro container farm REMOTELY. As a matter of fact, together with this customer/partner, we went through the entire process without having ever met in person.

We are working hard to continue to refine our remote support process, as this COVID thing will probably last a while …

Yes, each of our plant growth recipes are based on a specific seed, substrate and nutrient solution, combined with the perfect ClimateZone and Nutrient System for the crop. We are transparent about the cultivar which we recommend and the options of seed suppliers for your geographical area and we will ensure that you get the correct size and composition of the substrate. The nutrient recipe is specifically calculated based on the water analysis which our Biology team analyses for every farmer based on their location and will use nutrients which are available in your country.

We provide end-to-end support for your ‘Journey to Profit’ (see question above ”Which support do you provide?”) which are the basics to be able to operate the Plant Factory and will provide you with a manual and videos on how to operate it.

It’s important to be aware that the Plant Factory is still like a compact factory, which, in addition to growing plants, needs periodical cleaning and maintenance.

Having additional theoretical knowledge of biology is not needed (in fact, it can be counterproductive sometimes); having some hands-on experience with growing plants or with machine maintenance can be definitely a plus.