On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, members of the HSWT met with representatives of the company Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) in the Salettl at the Hofgarten Weihenstephan to cooperate. As one of the world’s leading Agritech companies, IGS supplies cutting-edge technology in the field of vertical farming. The partnership sets strategically important groundwork in order to position the university as the point of contact in Bavaria for this innovative field of research.
HSWT is the first university in Germany to sign a ‘Memorandum of Understanding with the agritech company IGS, a leading provider of cutting-edge technology and software for vertical farming. The 6, 9, or 12-meter high growth towers constructed by IGS offer a precision-controlled, automated indoor ecosystem that is highly flexible and scalable. IGS is also building a global research network that links the three main pillars of vertical farming, plant science, and agronomy. As part of this network, the HSWT will continue to strengthen its commitment to research and development in vertical farming. All potential users of this innovative technology benefit from this.
Compared to conventional cultivation systems, indoor farming makes an important contribution both to ecological aspects such as resource consumption and environmental pollution and to economic issues such as product quality and yield maximization. Motivation and objective for the ‘ Applied Science Center (ASC) for Smart Indoor Farming founded specifically for this purpose‘ At the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) it was and is to establish and further develop an interdisciplinary infrastructure that serves as an interface between research and industry in the field of indoor farming. The research team around Prof. Dr. Heike Mempel links scientific questions with concrete applications. A wealth of interdisciplinary projects makes an important contribution to making this innovative technology ready for practical use.
The research focuses on various innovative fields of application for indoor farming, for example the urban production of fresh plant-based food, the production of raw materials for the food and pharmaceutical industries and cultivation in unfavorable climatic conditions (arid areas, contaminated areas, etc.). The extremely water-saving technology offers great potential, especially for regions with low water availability. In addition, energy supply concepts are to be established that aim for climate-neutral production in the indoor farm. By optimizing existing value chains, the potential of indoor farming can be fully exploited.
Strategic partnership for the future
Prof. Heike Mempel, head of the ‘Applied Science Center (ASC) for Smart Indoor Farming’, is pleased: “Winning the IGS as a partner is a milestone for the further development of the HSWT as a key player in the field of vertical farming. In the long term, this will pave the way for bringing the ‘IGS Tower’ to the HSWT as one of the currently best technologies for vertical farming. As part of the IGS research network and with the backing of the HSWT’s ‘Applied Science Center (ASC) for Smart Indoor Farming’, which has been active since 2020, we can achieve our goal of establishing ourselves as a contact for vertical farming in Bavaria and far beyond to a whole new level.”
The goal of the partnership is the construction of an ‘IGS Tower’ at the HSWT. The tower offers an ideal infrastructure for researching this innovative technology at the highest level. The findings are passed on directly to users and customers in Bavaria through networking with the ‘Applied Science Center (ASC) for Smart Indoor Farming’ and the Indoor Farming research network, which is already firmly established at the HSWT. And the university also benefits from international visibility in research and increased attractiveness for students, who receive hands-on experience with this cutting-edge technology in a wide variety of bachelor’s and master’s courses.