Due to changing of climate which result in unpredictable weather patterns, the exponential rise of human population and consumption of earth resources rate surpasses the replenishing rate has resulted that the world needs to dispose unsustainable conventional farming methods and turn to modern farming concept such as vertical farming. Despite that, to managed an ecosystem inside a building would required many expert or at least an expert system which is lacking in the current market. The following of this section describes how severe each problem is.
1.2.1 Changing of Climate and Unpredictable Weather Patterns
In the past few years it can be observed that the climate pattern is becoming ...view middle of the document...
1.2.2 Rising of Human Population by 2050
According to the UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, the human population is projected to rise to 9.6billion – 2050 from 7.2billion as of April, 2014 (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) given a medium fertility rate. Using conservative farming methods, new land equivalent to the size of Brazil is needed to be converted to agricultural land to feed the rising population not including the already 80% in used land for raising crops where 15% of it has been laid waste due to poor management practices (Despommier, 2009). This stresses the need of modern farming such as vertical farming concept to be in place in reducing land usage while ensuring food security and proper management.
1.2.3 Resource Consumption Rate > Replenishing Rate causing
Figure 2: World’s Ecological Footprint by 2050 based on scenario
*Adopted from: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/
It is forecasted by Global Footprint Network that given the case scenario that no change in course of our practices will lead us to consuming three times faster Earth’s resources than Earth could ever replenish. In short, we will need at least 3 Earths to continue our practices. This is attributable to the unsustainable practices where resources used are not replaced – e.g. petroleum, land and waste generated are not recycle – e.g. rubbish, carbon emission from cities. There is no cyclic behavior observable from these conventional practices as seen in natural ecosystem, where nothing goes to waste and everything serve its purpose to maintain the ecosystem in a closed cycle system (Despommier, 2009).
1.2.4 Lack of Commercial ES in the Market
In order for a vertical farming system to work, it needs an ES to guide all its asset to provide optimum conditions for plants to thrive in. Based on initial observation of market, there are many systems on the market used to assist greenhouse operations and urban farming, but there is not one ES sold commercially in the market. According to Concise Oxford English Dictionary, ES is software that utilizes databases of expert knowledge to make decisions. Small scale modern farming automation products such as Purgro (Grobot Evolution) and Grohause Automation (HydroidTM) offers a great variety of features as shown in Table 2 but yet it is not an ES as it relies on the expertise of the user. Greenhouse companies such as Westvrook Greenhouse Systems Ltd and Netafim which specialized in building large-scale greenhouses are still relying on expert or user themselves in determining the optimal conditions for their plants to grow. To further illustrate the lacking trait of an ES, let’s say if a user wants to grow a tomato plant in a conventional greenhouse, the user need to search online or find an expert to determine the best conditions that he/she has to set for the system. If it was an ES, the user merely has to click...