The world is entering a period when food availability and affordability will become critical in many countries. The global market opportunity of improving agricultural productivity is £250 billion. We believe the Airponix system represents a revolutionary step change in delivering productivity gains.
Our system can grow a very broad range of crops in almost any region and has the potential to address world food shortages whilst also offering significantly greater environmental benefits.
The Airponix System
The Airponix system uses nutrient-laden fog to create a cloud of <20 micron droplets using very little energy. The fog moves freely around the protective polythene enclosures in which the growing plants are supported. Using electrostatic charge, the droplets adhere to the plants’ leaves and roots and absorbed. A smart fully automated system is being developed to give plants what they need, when they need it, operated by a mobile phone app.
Crops that can be grown include root crops, soft fruits, brassicas and others. They grow within low-cost protected growth chambers that are suitable for almost any terrain, even mountainous and rocky. The chambers function as “wombs” where plants can flourish with a wide range of external weather conditions and mitigating climate change impacts, disease and pest attack (as with conventional indoor agricultural systems). The high growth rates allow many cycles of crop harvesting in a year. It is highly adaptable and suitable for large scale food producers through to small family scale independent farmers.
Costs are low as energy usage is minimised with novel fog generation systems and unique growth chambers. From a sustainability perspective, it uses 85% less water than normal crop production techniques with no requirement for expensive and scarce arable land. Carbon emissions and environmental impacts are low as we expect minimum or no requirement for heavy machinery (to grow 1 acre of potatoes conventionally requires 160 litres of diesel), pesticides, fungicides or herbicides and there is no water run-off which could cause local pollution.
The Airponix system can have a massive impact socially, environmentally and economically.
- It can allow food to be grown locally in both urban and rural sites giving food and jobs to local communities and is suitable for drought areas which currently affect 2.1 billion people.
- It offers significantly increased crop yields, water savings and reduced CO2 footprints – i.e. minimum inputs and maximum outputs.
- Low-cost production make it economic to grow both high value and staple crops on almost any land with minimum risk and guaranteed quality, offering food security and increased commercial viability.
We have received investment from Centrica plc., an international energy and services company, through their Centrica Innovations arm which plans to invest £100 million up to 2022 in early stage and start-up enterprises, with the intention of working to identify, incubate and accelerate new technologies.
We are partnering with the following companies and research institutions to develop our technology and bring the Airponix system to market:
In this video, John Prewer, the father/inventor of aeroponics discusses the origins of aeroponics technology and how the current Airponix system has evolved after decades of experimentation.