AgTech Controlled Environment Agriculture Shipping Container Farm

Shipping Containers: A Sustainable Solution for Indoor Farming?

Shipping Container Farm, AmplifiedAg Sustainability Impact

Indoor farming, including large-scale warehouses and greenhouse farms, has become increasingly popular. However, Don Taylor mentioned in his latest article that these farms require a significant amount of carbon-intensive inputs such as cement and steel for their construction. As a result, it not only hurts the environment but also increases the overall cost of the farm. Indeed, he notes that cement emissions have more than doubled in the last 20 years, accounting for 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. In addition, steel production accounts for 7% of the global total resulting in 1.85 tonnes of CO2 per ton of steel produced.

One solution to this problem is using refurbished, decommissioned shipping containers as the primary structure for indoor farms, comments Don Taylor. “Not only does this reduce emissions, but it also gives the containers a new life and purpose. This approach is not only environmentally friendly, but it also has economic benefits.”

AmplifiedAg has taken this approach to heart. Due to the environmental impact and sustainability, they have decided to use decommissioned shipping containers as their indoor farms’ primary structure and format. Using these containers can significantly limit emissions during construction and provide a distributed farming architecture that minimizes foodborne illness risks.

The company has built, deployed, and analyzed hundreds of shipping container farms. As a result, they have evolved their system’s engineering and efficiencies. As a result, AmplifiedAg’s system strives to be a fully integrated, globally available, vertical farming food production platform enabled with a SaaS-based farm operating system, seed-to-sale business management, environmental controls and monitoring, automated nutrient management, proprietary lighting system, and issue management and alerting.

“Using shipping containers as the primary structure for indoor farms has numerous benefits compared to traditional implementations such as greenhouses and indoor farms. One of the biggest advantages is the significant cost savings, with Capx savings greater than 400% compared to traditional structure implementations. Additionally, the time to market quadruples (sometimes tenfold) with a phased, modular and scalable container infrastructure.” Comments Donald Taylor, CEO of AmplifiedAg “The modular format enables locally produced consumption or distribution (i.e., food distribution centers), minimizing transportation emissions and expenses. The transportable nature of the containers enables a resilient model responding to changing market conditions and emergency responses. The redundancy created by the segmented container model also minimizes crop loss from infestations or pathogens. Finally, climate and local growing permits the solution to support inhabitants’ needs worldwide – from arid to tropical, flatland to mountainous, and beyond.”

One may argue that vertical or indoor farming is an energy-intensive method for agriculture and thus not adapted to the current environment requiring an optimized energy consumption. Nevertheless, Donald Taylor states that the entire CEA sector should focus on becoming energy efficient and rely increasingly on renewable energies. 

“If we optimize our needs, we eventually require fewer resources for large-scale projects. While the strategies for renewable energy sources are maturing, we need to perfect the engineering and processes of agricultural systems that give back more to earth than they take.” Commented Donald Taylor, CEO of AmplifiedAg. 

Image provided by AmplifiedAg


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