Aug. 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM ET
Want a steady supply of veggies on a crowded, warming planet? Then ditch your car and invest in a parking-spot sized hydroponic cube that can grow 10,000 heads of lettuce per year.
With an initial cost between about $70,000 and $100,000, Daiwa House Industry’s Agri-cube is unlikely to solve any looming food crises in the developing world.
But it is a piece of technology similar to the vertical farms concept to consider when thinking about the food needs of a species increasingly packing into the world’s megacities.
Once installed, the system costs about $4,500 a year to run, which translates to about $0.45 per vegetable, according to video news site Diginfo TV.
The costs are primarily for electricity, which is used to run fluorescent lights and control the temperature. You’ll also need to pay for seeds and fertilizer, as you would on a farm.
While hydroponic growing is nothing new, the Agri-cube comes as a complete package including a fertilization and drainage system that makes being a green thumb simple for people inexperienced with grow lights.
In addition to lettuce, company research shows that 23 different types of vegetables can be grown at the same time, including small root veggies such as radishes and turnips.
The company is eyeing the restaurant industry as customers. Other potential clients include hotels and hospitals, even convenient stores.
The Agri-cube hit the market in April.
-- Via Diginfo TV