Data-driven controlled environment agriculture: Planning & design

Alberto Lopez

by Alberto Lopez, Agritecture Consulting

Discussion of the main takeaways of the first Global CEA Census Report, the most in-depth global survey of indoor & controlled environment agriculture ever conducted, with 316 total respondents from 54 countries. In the report, Autogrow and Agritecture paint a clearer picture of the global CEA industry by identifying important trends and contextualizing them for a wider audience. Adding to this information, the Agritecture Designer tool will be presented; the first digital platform to accelerate urban farming entrepreneurs around the world. A tool engineered to provide valuable data to assess the feasibility of a future agricultural project specific for your location.

Alberto Lopez was a speaker at the 2020 edition of the Vertical Farming Conference


What drives you?
I believe indoor farming provides part of the solution for the current food system issues, enhancing food production and distribution; it has the means to improve urban food security.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
It features a useful tool that allows entrepreneurs around the world to explore the cost and concepts around urban agriculture and make it more effective and easier to get to the next step; it couples a tool to center the main goal of the project and then gives an idea of what it takes to realize it.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
For increase yields and optimal production, integrated agricultural systems. For food production transparency and traceability, block-chain technologies will make a great improvement. For data recollection, multi-modal sensing integrating machine vision and real time data processing.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Integrated agricultural systems will allow an efficient use of resources, decreasing the environmental impact and de-risking the economic burden for producer itself. Block-chain technologies would allow tracing the source of the agricultural product in an instant, allowing the consumer to view the real impact of the agricultural production on the environment, people and economics. Multi-modal sensing real time data processing will allow automation of more complex environments.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
The main barriers are the social resistance to a transition between the current food system and a more efficient system; it is important to achieve changes in production methods, but most important, changes have to be made in our consumption behavior.

“Special quote”
Here at Agritecture, we want to see a world where commercial urban agriculture is economically feasible, reduces the environmental impact of the food system, and improves food security.

About Alberto Lopez

Currently working as Systems Engineer for Agritecture Consulting, Alberto advises on optimization of operation and energy performance of greenhouses and CEA facilities. He worked for the University of Costa Rica in the topic of greenhouse climate control. Moving to Europe allowed him to obtain hands-on experience in the operation, design and construction of vertical farms. Alberto collaborated with the German Aerospace Center in a plant selection methodology for the ISS and worked with the EDEN team on a vertical farming system analysis. He holds a MSc. in Biosystems Engineering of Wageningen University where he focused his research on greenhouse humidity control methods.

About Agritecture Consulting

Agritecture Consulting provides a comprehensive approach to urban agriculture project development. In operation since 2014, Agritecture has helped more than 100 organizations determine the feasibility of their ideas, validate their business strategies, recruit talent for their projects, manage operational challenges, and much more. Our consulting services are backed by several years of operations data and a team of experienced growers, agricultural engineers, sustainability managers, and marketing experts.

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