Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or other medium. The basic principal is to grow plants in a closed environment by periodically spraying roots with a nutrient rich solution. The obvious benefit to aeroponics is the volume of plants that can be grown year-round on a limited amount of space. Once established, the aeroponics system can be adjusted to grow anything from greens to berries and tomatoes by simply adjusting the inputs. The lack of soil also affords a disease-free environment. For example,
- AeroFarms, the front-runner aeroponics company, have the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the world, located in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms’ claims to use up to 95% less water and zero pesticides vs. traditional field farming. AeroFarms has grown over 800 different varieties of crops and sees potential even beyond food production to extend to other verticals like pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and nutraceutical.
- In developing countries like India and China, Aeroponics technology is majorly used for mini-tuber (potato seed) production. This results in 7 to 10 times mini-tubers production from in-vitro plantlets as compared to cultivation under net house conditions.
The potential of the technology can be understood from the fact that, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has launched a targeted incentive programme to accelerate the growth of the emirate’s burgeoning (AgTech) ecosystem and promote innovation. The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED1 billion (US$272 million) AgTech Incentive Programme, established a year ago to develop next generation agriculture in arid and desert agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has partnered with AeroFarms to focus on next-generation genetic phenotyping and organoleptic research while also tackling the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi.