An Austrian start-up developed the worldwide first fully automated system to modify a fridge into a climate chamber to grow all desired herbs and vegetables fast, reliable and without restrictions.
1. STATE OF THE ART
Growing herbs and plants in urban regions is often hardly possible due to space limitations and limited time or expertise for cultivation of plants. Automatically controlled, all-year indoor growing in climate chambers comparable to the size of a fridge is an alternative. Up to now very limited number of such kind of kitchenware is available on the market worldwide and those which exist do have essential disadvantages:
- No constant growing conditions and limited control range (no controlled CO2 concentrations, no controlled humidity, no cooling in summer)
- Noisy due to active aeration (ventilation)
- High complexity & limited automation (water and wastewater connections, tubes, tanks, pumps or similar causing hygienic and maintenance issues)
- High costs (~3000 € / grow box)
- Fixed sizes
The Austrian company developed a controller-based system that enables everybody to make a climate chamber out of any fridge without having the disadvantages described above. Solely one additional hole need to be made into the fridge to provide electricity inside and to enable CO2 supply in the chamber. The controller, a LED light source and a ventilator are put into the fridge. A CO2 bottle (comparable aquarium CO2 systems) is placed outside. The controller is measuring and controlling parameters as light intensity, spectra and duration, temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration automatically to provide perfect conditions without having any effort. For advanced users the controller is also capable to control further devices like for example a camera.
Once the system is set-up the user does only have to plant the seeds, water the plants once and wait till the plants are ready for harvesting. Automatic watering is done while humidity is condensed in the fridge and re-fed into the substrate of the plant. CO2 that is consumed by plants is added artificially. Therefore, CO2 bottles need to be plugged and changed comparable to soda-stream bottles every few months. All needed goods as DIY-kit, plant trays and CO2 bottles can be provided by the Austrian company or partners.
The system has an IoT connection. Via app and web the system parameters can be defined (day / night, etc.) and existing climate programs can be loaded. Measured data are stored and can be analysed anytime by an included analytic tool.
3. APPLICATION AREAS
- Private households
- Top-quality restaurants
- Research institutes which do need a reasonable priced alternative to expensive climate chambers.
4. PARTNER SOUGHT
- Manufacturers of cooling devices or fridges to deliver devices (manufacturing agreement) or to (co-)develop new products (commercial agreement, license agreement or research agreement).
- Manufacturers of LED lights to integrate the controller in LED lights (manufacturing agreement).
- Companies for distribution of the existing "Do it yourself" kit (commercial agreement).