Marketplace

  • GlasPort Bio Ltd - overall Rushlight Award winners, reduce gas & add value to manure Awards & Standards
    GlasPort Bio Ltd - overall Rushlight Award winners, reduce gas & add value to manure

    Animal manure has long been recognised as a valuable fertiliser and a source of renewable energy. It is also a major source of pollution, with emissions from stored manure accounting for approximately 15% of all agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more than 70% of all ammonia emissions in Europe.

  • Ion Science - new protection against VOCs Health & safety
    Ion Science - new protection against VOCs

    Offering a new level of enhanced, reliable protection against VOCs with the first 11.7 Cub personal solution from ION Science.

    In a 2018 report from the UN, it was revealed that a worker dies every 30 seconds due to exposure to toxic gases in the workplace. That such statistics still exist today is one of the reasons ION Science is working hard to create protective technologies for workers against VOC exposure. The new 11.7 eV Cub personal solution is the first of its kind and promises to be a game-changer for protection against exposure.

    ion science VOC sensorThe Cub 11.7 eV personal device is the latest addition to ION Science's world-leadingrange of gas and leak detection products. Using their 30 years of industry experienceand their extensive knowledge of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) andphotoionisation detection (PID), ION Science continue to deliver excellence in protection for workers.

    The 11.7 eV sensor lamp is a notoriously difficult lamp to manufacture. Due to its highly sensitive nature, 11.7 eV devices in the past have been temperamental, require frequent lamp changes and ultimately end up with increased environmental exposure, affecting performance of the device.

    ION Science has tackled this issue and developed a refined manufacturing method that eliminates some of the sensitivities and issues previously associated with 11.7 eV detection.

    As the first 11.7 personal detection solution from ION Science, the Cub 11.7 offers all the features a customer would expect from the market leader.

    This includes resistance to humidity and moisture, operational in temperatures from 0-55 degrees, and intrinsically safe even in explosive environments. Its lightweight design at only 111g makes it comfortable for wearers and the small size doesn't impede movement or work.

    Unrivalled Gas Detection.
    ionscience.com

  • CORE (UK) Ltd - Supply chain pioneers win Queens Award Awards & Standards
    CORE (UK) Ltd - Supply chain pioneers win Queens Award

    Supply chain pioneers, CORE (UK) Ltd, win The Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade

    CORE (UK) Ltd, leaders in digital supply chain management software have been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade for outstanding growth and commercial success in international trade.

  • Enviva - Sustainable Benefits of the Wood Pellet Industry Energy & Resource Management
    Enviva - Sustainable Benefits of the Wood Pellet Industry

    Sustainable Benefits of the Wood Pellet Industry - by Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva

    Healthy, growing forests remain one of the most critical tools in the fight to mitigate climate change, and sustainable forest management is part of every plan outlined by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the "IPCC") to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

v ecohouse button

web mossborough spud field copy

Thursday, 01 November 2018 13:45

Concept of 'deep farms' underneath cities imagined

Academics have patented a new concept that would see food production taken underground. The revolutionary ideas are being promoted by University of Nottingham academics Professor Saffa Riffat, Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and President of the World Society of Sustainable Technologies, and Professor Yijun Yuan, Marie Curie Research Fellow.

They imagine that cost-effective deep shafts for crop planting would be constructed using new drilling techniques. Existing coal mining and civil air defence tunnels, many of which are now abandoned could also be used for crop production. The new deep farms could be employed for intensive crop farming to feed rising urban populations.

Underground farm diagram 1The newly-patented concept for deep farms is an alternative approach to large scale crop production. The deep farms could be created close to, or beneath, population centres to reduce transportation costs and CO2 emissions.

Prof Riffat
said: "A variety of crops could be grown in the deep farms using hydroponic planters - plant roots fed with nutrient-rich water - or aeroponics - growing plants in an air or mist environment. LED units would enable photosynthesis in the absence of sunlight. Groundwater could be used directly or water could be condensed from ambient air in hot/humid deserts. A major benefit of this approach is that crop production is largely unaffected by climatic or seasonal factors - one of the greatest limitations of conventional farming methods."

Prof Riffat says that many crops are now being grown in greenhouses and while this provides a controllable growth environment, greenhouses are heavy energy consumers. Vertical farms are a relatively recent adaptation of the traditional greenhouse and are suitable for use in cities, as their tall glass structures provide high crop yields on a small land area.

Prof Riffat added: "However, vertical farming systems are expensive to manufacture and install, and require a large amount of water and energy for heating and cooling. They are also vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, wars and terrorism.

undergroind farm main"The new deep farms and also millions of redundant coal mines and tunnels in the world could be for crop production. In the UK, there are over 1,500 redundant coal mines, and in China, there are over 12,000 abandoned coal mines, 7.2 billion m3 of tunnels and about 1 billion m3 civic air defence tunnels."

Carbon dioxide is required for plant photosynthesis and the deep farms will use CO2 capture and release systems, as these spaces are well suited to carbon storage. Use of carbon capture systems has the added benefit of reducing CO2 concentration in the environment, as additional carbon is adsorbed in materials in the ground space. Advanced control systems including sensors and remote controls could be used to monitor crop production. Automated systems such as robots could be used for crop planting and harvesting. Electricity generated from renewable sources and off-peak power could be used to power the LED lighting for plant photosynthesis.

What are the problems with existing agricultural methods according to Professor's Riffat and Yuan?

  • High dependence on natural resources, including water, arable land space, daylight, etc.
  • Affected by irregular seasons and climates, industrial pollution, natural disasters, extreme weather, pests and diseases, man-made accidents and wars
  • Inefficiency, including low production capacity, and inefficient use of natural resources
  • Crops can take up harmful materials. Cultivated land and water are heavily polluted in many countries. For example, about one fifth of arable land in China is contaminated with levels of toxins greater than Government standards (2014 data), and 14% of domestic grain contains heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium (2015).

Prof Riffat believes that many of these problems could be solved if agricultural plants were grown using deep farms. Deep Farms are not strongly affected by the seasons or climates, and are resistant to natural disasters, extreme weather, pests and diseases, man-made accidents and industrial pollution. In fact, the ground environment is naturally suited to the growth of plants.