Aeroponics was initially developed in NASA labs to provide the astronauts with some fresh food during their long term space missions. Later, it became clear that this approach can also be a solution to at least some of the challenges the modern world has been facing, such as the goal to feed large amounts of people who do not work on land, on the one hand, and the necessity to restore the ecological balance, on the other. Since then, the aeroponic approach has been adopted by many greenhouses all over the world: they provide urban residents with locally grown greens, vegetables and fruits. At Aleinu, we consider the further development of this method to be one of our primary goals and invest a lot of efforts and resources in the improvement of the existing aeroponic techniques and the invention of the new, even more effective ones. We are proud of the fact that it is also due to our contribution that today there has emerged a brand-new phenomenon: the sustainable industrial urban farming, which successfully competes with the conventional agriculture both in terms of the produce quality and quantity. We would like to introduce you to some of our patented innovations:
- We grow our produce in the environment-friendly plastic conduits mounted on a special conveyor. As opposed to the soil-based agriculture, in which the distance between the plants seeded is set up based on their future maximal size, the distance between the plastic conduits on the conveyor varies depending on the stage of the plant’s growth. The adjustment of the intervals between the conduits to the plant’s actual size is done automatically, regulated by our specially developed software. This technology was not invented by us, yet we have enhanced it significantly. This development has enabled us to diversify our produce and increase its quantity drastically, so that today we harvest yields 3 times higher than those in the greenhouses similar to ours.
- When it comes to the plants’ irrigation, our technology combines the advantages of both aeroponics and hydroponics: water circulates in the closed conduits and humidifies the air inside of them. We have developed an automated irrigation system that regulates the water level in the conduits. As a result, we don’t have to employ the misting and/or fogging irrigation, which is still practiced by most aeroponic greenhouses. This means that we don’t have to frequently change and repair the sprinklers that have become clogged with the salts water contains. In addition, our greenhouse is drought-proof. If the sprinkles stop working (e.g. because of a power shutdown), the root system starts drying immediately, which causes an irreversible damage to the plant. In our greenhouse, however, there is always water in the conduits – in quantity just enough to moisturize the plant’s root system. Even if it stops circulating, the plants are still safe (the adult plants can hold for up to 15 minutes, the seedlings – for up to 3 weeks).
- To maintain our 1 acre conveyor, we have developed special platforms that move over the aeroponic conduits. These mobile platforms enable us to take care of any conduit and of any plant, if necessary. This invention allowed us to both increase the quality of our greens and amplify their quantity: we got rid of the service passages between the conduits and could use this space to grow more plants.
- We consider plant protection to be one of our main priorities. We provide our customers with insect-free premium quality produce which has not been treated with any heavy pesticides. To achieve this goal, we have developed and patented a system of physical obstacles that prevent the insects from coming into contact with the plants. This system includes wrapping the greenhouse walls with an anti-insect IP 50 net; securing the entrances with air curtains; and preventing the seedlings from being contaminated with insect larvae (the seeds are germinated within our greenhouse; we use sterile mineral wool to do so). We also employ our specially developed “insect annihilators” mounted on the platforms moving across the greenhouse. Those are machines with 3000 rpm propellers installed inside of them. As the propellers rotate, the machines suck up the air with all the flying insects it contains. These preventive measures have enabled us to apply reduced-risk substances to get rid of the insects completely. These substances are only harmful to insects, causing no damage to either the environment, or the people’s health. Our greens meet the organic produce criteria.
At Aleinu, we are committed to excellence and technological development. Our choices and innovations have proven themselves in course of the six years of successful sustainable farming in our greenhouse, at the rooftop of an industrial building, in the middle of the desert.