The global population is predicted to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and to feed everyone, it’s estimated that global food production will need to increase by up to 70% in the next 30 years. Yet $10 billion USD worth of crops are lost each year due to worsening extreme weather conditions, according to research at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. These weather extremes, combined with the unpredictability of weather systems and seasons, have led many in the agriculture business to consider indoor farming. However, indoor farming is not without risk, and one of the main conditions to consider is airflow. HVAC systems play a vital role in ensuring indoor crops make it to market. In turn, our valves at Metrex Valve play a vital role in ensuring industrial HVAC systems run at peak performance at all times.
Indoor farming is a technique for growing an array of agricultural products: plants, produce and livestock. New technologies and advancements in hydroponics are making it possible to grow crops without pesticides, soil or even natural light. Additionally, since indoor crops can be stacked vertically, there's no need for vast tracts of land. Lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, potatoes and eggplants are among the most popular plants grown in indoor farms. Flowers and ornamentals, as well as other crops, are also widely grown indoors. One of the hurdles to indoor farming is energy use. In the absence of sunlight, indoor operations have to rely on powerful artificial lights that use a lot of energy and produce so much heat that some indoor farms have to rely on air conditioning year-round. HVAC units thus play a pivotal role in large-scale indoor farming operations.
Growing demand for fresh, nutrient-rich food and the increasing use of protected cultivation is expected to boost revenues in the field of indoor farming in the coming years. The global indoor farming market was valued at $121.26 billion USD in 2019, and it is projected to reach $167.42 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% over the forecast period,[i] though some estimates have that rate as high as 9.19%.[ii] A rise in demand for fresh foods with higher nutritive value combined with the need for higher yields using limited space and water are the major factors propelling the market growth. Yields are typically much higher with indoor farming than compared to traditional farming methods. Crops from indoor farms are grown in three dimensions, rather than two – and can be grown all year round, independent of external weather conditions, given the right equipment.
Climate control is a crucial component in the success of indoor farming because it is used to create and maintain an environment conducive to plant growth. To control the climate successfully, hardware components such as HVAC units are critical. HVAC equipment used in indoor farming may include dehumidifiers, humidifiers, ventilation systems, exhaust fans, extensive ductwork, ductless air-rotation systems, etc.
Because HVAC units are such a critical part of indoor farming, the valves in these units must be of the highest quality, reliable and flexible. At Metrex Valve we provide the widest variety of HVAC water regulating valves. The Metrex Pressure Actuator Valves provide design flexibility for usage in a wide range of settings, commercial and industrial, from multi-story high rise facilities to large sprawling indoor fields. Metrex Valve products are always designed to maintain peak operating efficiency, saving a business energy and money while optimizing an equipment’s lifespan. We are able to offer complete self-contained, self-powered, and self-regulating valve solutions to our clients by manufacturing our valves to fit your requirements. To find out more about Metrex Valve and how our products can best serve you, contact us here now.