Hydroponic Farming that Uses 99 Percent Less Water

This Japanese hydroponic farming facility is inside an old microchip factory. It’s a factory-turned-farm, and it uses 99 percent less water than conventional farming.

What!

No, really.Β Steve Hanley wrote about this hydroponic farm over at our sister site EcoLocalizer, and it’s pretty amazing.

Related: Vertical Farming in Singapore Reaches New Heights

Plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura transformed an abandoned factory into a hydroponic farming phenomenon. The factory, damaged in Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has been empty for years. Shimamura envisioned turning this 25,000 square foot building into a food-producing dynamo that grows more food in less space using much less water.

The hydroponic farming facility opened this summer and is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. They’re using custom GE grow lights that are super thin and super efficient. Those bulbs are the key to this operation, and they use about 40 percent less electricity than conventional bulbs.

The dramatic water savings come from the way Shimamura laid out his hydroponic farming operation. Trays of lettuce are stacked, so the runoff from the lettuce at the top trickles down and waters the plants below. They also carefully control temperature and humidity in the hydroponic farming facility to minimize water loss. Less water loss means more water savings.

With water shortages threatening food supplies worldwide, hydroponic farming setups like Shimamura’s can potentially offer food security in areas that need it. This is what “industrial agriculture” should mean.

Check out the video above, and we have a slideshow below of the hydroponic farming factory courtesy of GE Reports.

Written by Becky Striepe

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