Panasonic is involved in a project on the island of Ishigaki, southwest of Okinawa, to hunt ways to grow vegetables in subtropical monsoon conditions. a part of the japanese government’s Asian Monsoon Plant Factory System (PFS) Consortium, the goal is to make a stable local supply of produce despite the climate.
Regions that are subject to monsoon seasons can see a good range of effects, from a rather higher rate of precipitation to torrential rainfalls, but places like Ishigaki not only see more rain, but additionally have to deal with heat and humidity, producing conditions that creates it a really poor place to try raising vegetables.
With the prospect of global climate change , the Asian Monsoon PFS was established in 2016 to develop technology to counter the hot, soggy climate in a-way that’s effective at creating a stable local supply of vegetables economically. For proof of concept, Ishigaki Island was chosen due to its frequent monsoon squalls and frequent typhoons.
For the test, tomatoes were chosen because the crop as the places like Ishigaki Island are very hostile to them thanks to the local temperature, lighting, and humidity, which makes the plants vulnerable to diseases.
To house the tomatoes, the consortium built a plant factory-type intelligent greenhouse, called the IT Greenhouse, which is different from standard Dutch-style plant house that’s a tall structure where the plants grow for 10 months. Instead, the IT Greenhouse isn’t as high and costs 3-4 times less than Dutch style. Additionally , it’s built to face up to gusts of wind of up to 112 mph (180 km/h).
The Greenhouse is equipped with devices like curtains that absorb infrared to manage heat, and sensors to regulate moisture content. Other sensors gauge photosynthesis in a contactless manner. Additionally , there are cooling system, misters, and wind sensors. The upshot is that the tomatoes grow in just about three months at a price comparable to growing them on the japanese mainland.
Once the hardware is up and running, subsequent step are going to be to figure on ways to manage and improve the power by means of cloud systems which might be controlled from thousands of miles away, including Smart Saien’s Cloud, which is an integrated environment system that’s the primary to be utilized in the subtropics, and Panasonic’s Cultivation Navi system, where farmers can access data remotely using an app.
According to Panasonic, the benefits of such a factory farming system is that it not only reduces the necessity for transport, it also avoids the strict quarantine regulations that always hinder the movement of produce. Also, the remote feature allows many locations to be monitored at the same time, introducing economies of scale.
The research were published on Panasonic.