How can you
make a profit in Indoor Vertical Farming?

Your Journey to Profit

Are you curious to find out how the new technology behind our ModuleX PlantFactory resolves many open issues in vertical farming, such as the long project lead times and high initial investment costs?

If so, re-live the successful webinar from Sept 9th 2020 which received 500+ registrations from 6 continents, 40+ countries, and which had more than 245 live attendees.

Henry Gordon-Smith, the CEO of Agritecture, hosted the ModuleX Launch Webinar in which Tom Debusschere (CEO of Urban Crop Solutions) and Maarten Vandecruys (co-founder/CTO of Urban Crop Solutions), explain and show you the concept, features, and benefits of this exciting new product.

Highlights

8’08” Demo video of the Grow Module with BenchCarousel

16’01” In-depth conversation on the end-to-end support

29’41” Explanation of full lead time ‘from order to 1st harvest’ of 6 months or less

39’08” Guided tour inside the Urban Crop Research Center

48’10” Full unit production cost, including CAPEX depreciation over 10 years

Host & Panellists

Henry Gordon-Smith

CEO

Tom Debusschere

CEO

Maarten Vandecruys

Founder & CTO

Webinar recording – Sept 9th 2020

Re-live the experience and get to know our ModuleX Plant Factory!

Re-live the experience and get to know our ModuleX Plant Factory:

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 desinfection

 

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.

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.