A new UK agri-tech company has won government funding to develop ground-breaking sensor technology for vertical farming.
The project will develop a growing sensor and innovative transmission node for vertical farms over the next six months.
Derbyshire-based firm Light Science Technologies (LST), founded in 2019, secured part of a £90 million Innovate UK fund.
Its ‘all in one’ indoor farm sensor will enable farms to monitor and control their environment by measuring light, water, air, temperature, humidity, oxygen and soil to ensure optimal plant productivity and yield.
The Controlled Environment Agricultural (CEA) market is growing fast at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21%, with increasing demand from farmers looking to install or replace existing indoor farms to achieve maximum yield on crops for optimum profitability.
High start-up costs are attracting investment from stakeholders eyeing the potentially significant return on investment opportunity.
Through its custom-made solution for the CEA market, LST works with growers to provide a solution that can be used across different crops to achieve maximum yield, creating the full growing 'recipe' of lighting, nutrient and environment.
The sensor will form a vital part of its offering, reducing energy and saving costs using technology and real-time data.
Simon Deacon, CEO of Light Science Technologies said news of the funding was an 'especially important boost to the business'.
"To be selected by Innovate UK is confirmation of the urgent need for more sustainable, productive and cost-effective solutions in farming," he added.
"Investment in UK technology and innovation in this sector is crucial in achieving a better approach to agricultural production and reducing emissions.”
The Derby-based company is one of 23 feasibility projects awarded funding from Innovate UK as part of its Transforming Food Production (TFP) challenge.