AUSTRALIA’S first commercial scale solar-powered and carbon neutral farm could be just around the corner.
And it will be housed inside city towers, not sprawling paddocks.
WA-based Eden Towers has revealed its plans to construct four 12-metre-high growth tower structures for a precision-controlled indoor ecosystem where plants can grow all year without soil.
The company is working with Scottish-based indoor agritech specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions, which will build the towers in Perth.
Eden Towers is aiming to produce 120 tonnes of lettuce, spinach, kale and basil per annum when fully operational in the second half of 2022.
According to the company, the farm will use 98 per cent less water and achieve up to 15 times the yield of a greenhouse or open field.
“A traditional field would require 6000 square metres of space to produce the equivalent yield,” it said.
The endeavour anticipates being entirely carbon neutral by 2024.
Eden Towers has plans to expand operations to Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne and into Singapore and Jakarta.
Following its successful seed capital raising in 2021, the sustainable farming business has bolstered its war chest by securing a debt facility as it progresses discussions for a Series-A raise.
Eden Towers co-founder Christian Prokscha said the Perth farm was being funded through debt and equity including the seed funding round in June through the Birchal platform which raised about $650,000.
“We are finalising the design of a four-tower industrial scale farm at Perth to be located at the Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct at Peel,” Mr Prokscha said.
“We are in discussions with a number of separate parties with the aim of securing up to a $10 million of Series-A investment to fund our ongoing expansion.”
Vertical Farming is gaining traction in Australia with Sunshine Coast-based Vertical Farm Systems recently signing a $55m contract with a Canadian company to create an automated leafy green production facility.
The Vertical Farm Systems XA Series Warehouse System is the result of nine years of development and commercial testing.
In December 2021, another section of the Costa Group’s new 12.5 hectare glasshouse near Guyra, New South Wales, was officially commissioned with a goal of helping to lift annual production at the 40ha facility to one billion individual tomatoes, making the facility the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Eden Towers was awarded $200,000 in grant funding from the Shire of Murray to undertake R&D and commercialisation of indigenous and nursery crops.
Eden Towers co-founder Julia Prichodko said the grant was recognition of the bright future for sustainable post-organic vertical farming in Australia.
“Like all our farms, the Perth facility will target carbon neutrality by running on near 100pc renewable energy and recycling all inputs,” Ms Prichodko said.
“Our vision is to promote a sustainable future through superior agriculture technology, sustainable energy and water systems and smart use of land and location.”
A trial farm has been commissioned for Adelaide with its first crops expected in February.
“This is a critical step for Eden Towers towards realising our growth strategy of establishing a farm in every capital city of Australia,” Mr Prokscha said.
“This farm will begin customer-proving trials immediately with planning for a large-scale farm in Adelaide already underway.”
“Our expansion into Indonesia is also well advanced with a landmark deal close to signing for a large-scale low product cost farm producing more than 120t per year for the affordable produce market in Indonesia.”
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