need to cite 4 peer review article, (within this five years) and our group topic is Sustainable Extraction of Lunar Resources. and my part is human resource. the length is 9 pages. and the format is APA. need to have a References page. i have two samples that is different topic, but which is our professor look forward to it .
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Scott LoCascio
Professor Victoria Sansome
Engineering 100W
29 November 2017
Urban Vertical Farms
The development of high yield urban farms using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is a
critical component of any green city. Large cities often grapple with the need to provide its
citizens with quality affordable food. This is especially true in the city of Oakland which has
established a Food Policy Counsel to tackle hunger and obesity among its citizens. According to
the Food Policy Counsel’s current action plan (2010), “Oakland struggles with high rates of
obesity, poverty, food insecurity, and even hunger” (p. 5). Growing fresh fruits and vegetables
inside the city can provide citizens with an abundance of affordable healthy foods.
The Food Policy Council Action Plan notes that one of its strategies for promoting the
health of its citizens, its economy, and the environment is to “protect and expand urban
agriculture” (pp. 5-6). Vertical indoor farms make several improvements over traditional farms
making them the ideal the ideal urban agriculture solution for Oakland. Vertical urban farming
can also provide jobs to citizens as various roles are necessary to maintain a successful
greenhouse operation. The major drawback to indoor agriculture is energy use. Currently,
greenhouses require large amounts of electricity for climate controls and grow lighting. Green
Development addresses this issue by proposing the implementation of state of the art low energy
greenhouses that utilize solar technology, sunlight, and sealed environmental controls to
drastically lower the amount of grid electricity needed to operate.
Benefits of vertical indoor farming
Controlled environment agriculture and vertical farms make improvements in higher crop yields
per square foot of land, elimination of non-point source runoff pollution, and control of the
environment to produce ideal growing conditions (Depsommier, 2013, p. 388). These
improvements make vertical farms uniquely suited to the needs of an urban environment.
Additionally, large urban farming operations produce a large variety of occupations inside the
city. A network of vertical indoor greenhouses will provide nutrition to the citizens of Oakland
and meaningful occupation for skilled and unskilled workers.
Higher yield of crops per square foot per year
More crops are grown per square foot on a vertical farm than a traditional farm because multiple
floors can be stacked on top of each other. This is a necessary characteristic for growing fruits
and vegetables in the city, where land is too scarce to devote large enough plots for traditional
farms. Along with being able to have multiple floors of produce on a given piece of land, plants
grown using hydroponics in a controlled environment can be grown and harvested in shorter
intervals. Outdoor farms usually produce three crops per year while indoor farms can manage as
many as eight (Depsommier, 2013, p. 388). This advantage allows cities to overcome their
problem of land scarcity by having a relatively dense crop production per square foot. A study
found a 29 percent increase in vegetable productivity per a square foot at indoor hydroponic
farms in Atlanta, Georgia compared to outdoor farms in the Imperial Valley, California (Chen,
Igou, & Van Ginkel, 2017, p.324). Such increases can provide ample supplies of healthy food
products to a large city. To meet the needs of Oakland’s citizens the city’s support for urban
farms should be directed specifically towards vertical indoor farms.
Elimination of runoff
Traditional outdoor farms use large amounts of fertilizer which run out to the environment as
non-point source pollution. It is estimated that twenty percent of nitrogen fertilizers are lost as
runoff on outdoor farms which pollute the downstream environment (Chen et al., 2017, p. 323).
This type of pollution can be especially harmful in a tightly packed urban area, making
traditional outdoor farming unwise. Green Development is proposing the use of hydroponic
grow systems which eliminate runoff pollution. Hydroponic grow systems use nitrogen and
other fertilizers in the form of salts which accumulate in the water over time and eventually
urged and reclaimed if concentrations get too high (Chen et al., 2017, p. 324). The closed loop
water system of a hydroponic farm prevent any excess water running off-site, allowing excess
fertilizers to be used again in later fertilization cycles.
Total environmental control
Utilizing a controlled indoor environment is beneficial for urban farming because it protects the
plants from bad weather, prevent pests without using pesticides, and uses less water. Large
weather events do not have as large of an impact on indoor vertical farms as they do on outdoor
farms. Heatwaves, rainstorms, and more extreme weather like hurricanes can cause a
greenhouse to use more energy on temperature control and grow lighting but will not ruin a crop.
This important in a large city’s urban farm because it prevents production shortcomings due to
uncontrollable forces. Indoor farms also have a lower exposure to pests and pathogens than
outdoor farms do which allows for the reduction or elimination of pesticides (Despommier, 2013,
p. 388). Many pesticides can be dangerous for human consumption, so the lack of them in
Oakland farms would protect consumers in the city. Water use is also improved in an indoor
hydroponic system. Outdoor farms in California used an average of 66 times more water to
grow crops than an indoor hydroponic farm in Atlanta, Georgia (Chen et al., 2017, p. 323).
Droughts are a common part of life in California making water conservation in farming critically
important. Green Development is proposing a system that will position Oakland as a leader in
low water agriculture.
Employment opportunities
The greenhouses being proposed by Green Development will need to be managed and operated
by a team of skilled and unskilled employees. Some of the positions will include resource
managers, planters, harvesters, IT specialists, business professionals, and quality control
specialists (Despommier, 2013, p. 389). Unskilled labor can be filled by entry-level employees
who are trying to gain work experience for the first time or who have been displaced from a past
job. As the less skilled employees develop they have a wide range of more skilled positions to
grow into if they maintain employment. Green Development proposed greenhouses will not only
grow and develop plants but will also help grow and develop the citizens of Oakland to help
combat poverty and inequality. Green Development proposed greenhouses will not only grow
and develop plants but will also help grow and develop the citizens of Oakland into financially
stable members of society.
Disadvantages of vertical indoor farming
Vertical farming makes significant improvements over traditional farming methods but also has
some negative attributes. Vertical indoor farms usually require a considerably more energy than
traditional farms. As seen in figure 1 hydroponic farms produce a greater yield of food per
square meter and use drastically less water compared to outdoor farms but use huge amounts of
electricity per kg of food produced. Hydroponic farms in Atlanta, Georgia use up to 30 times
more electricity than traditional farms in the Imperial Valley, California (Chen et al., 2017, p.
323). This electricity is usually produced using fossil fuels which can give a vertical indoor farm
an unacceptably large carbon footprint.
Farm Type
Yield (kg/m2-year)
Water Use (L/kg)
Energy Use (kWhr/kg)
Figure 1. Comparison of crop yield, water use, and energy use between traditional outdoor,
hydroponic, and aquaponic farms (Chen et al., 2017, pp. 321-323).
The excessive electricity use in an indoor farm can also make the food produced more
expensive. The cost to grow enough grain in the United States to make a loaf of bread has been
estimated at ten dollars (Heath, Shao, & Zhu, 2016, p. 27). Excessive production costs can make
indoor greenhouses an unrealistic solution for providing affordable food to citizens. Another
downside of vertical indoor farms is a high initial cost compared to traditional farms. It is
necessary to build a large structure on a given section of land in order to grow vertically, where a
normal farm is much simpler and needs few if any structures. In order to develop a successful
urban farming system in the city of Oakland, Green Development will address these issues with
several meaningful improvements.
Improvements in vertical indoor farming
Current vertical indoor farming technology requires several improvements before it can be
economically feasible in a large city. Green development is proposing to innovate large indoor
greenhouses to use less electricity and cost less to build. Oakland’s large-scale indoor
hydroponic facilities will feature solar redirection systems which redirect sunlight throughout a
given space in a controlled manner. Additionally, all of the structures used to house the plants
will be covered in photovoltaic film. This film will allow excess light to be harvested and used
to reduce the need for grid electricity. Finally, Green development is proposing to use stacks of
five shipping containers as a base unit for vertical farming. Shipping containers are affordable to
acquire and are very structurally sound and designed to be stacked. With these improvements,
Green Development will deliver a viable model for feeding thousands of people on otherwise
unused urban land.
Solar redirection system
Vertical greenhouses in Oakland will take advantage of the readily available natural light. The
city of Oakland receives an average of 261 days of sun per year which can be utilized to feed
plants and avoid artificial light (Oakland, California: Climate, n.d.). Vertical farms will consist of
several stacks of shipping containers. Outer stacks will have transparent faces to allow direct
sunlight infiltration. The interior stacks will receive sunlight from solar redirection units placed
on top and on the sides of the outer stacks. These solar redirection units will consist of active
mirror arrays, as seen in figure 2, that are capable of redirecting sunlight into the core of the
interior greenhouse units (Doulos, Kontadakis, Topalis, & Tsangrassoulis, 2017, p. 268).
Figure 2. Three views of an active solar redirection system a)front view, b)side view,
c)perspective view (Doulos et al., 2017, p. 269).
This redirected sunlight will lower the need for artificial lighting throughout the year to reduce
energy use. Artificial lighting systems will still be installed for the days of the year when the
sunlight is insufficient. This system is expected to remove half of the energy needed for a typical
hydroponic farming operation. A hydroponic farm in Atlanta, Georgia reported that 78% of their
total 115,000-kilowatt hours (kWhr) per year energy use was devoted to lighting which accounts
for 90,000 kWhr per year (Chen et al., 2017, p. 323). By channeling 260 days of sunlight into
the vertical farm, the energy use for lighting should be lowered to 24,000 kWhr per year. This is
an energy reduction specifically attributed to the solar redirection apparatus, further
implementations will continue to lower energy use.
Photovoltaic film
It is important to implement solar in an energy efficient greenhouse. While the plants are
absorbing energy from the sun, the structures that contain and support them will be absorbing
energy back into the greenhouse system. All of the hydroponically grown plants will be resting
in basins. The exterior of these basins will be covered with photovoltaic film. The solar film
was chosen instead of paneling because of it requires less energy and materials to manufacture
than rigid solar cells and it is easier to apply onto custom shapes (Dhankhar, Singh, O. P., &
Singh, V., 2014, p. 217). These qualities will lower the carbon footprint associated with Oakland
vertical farms and will decrease the amount of time needed to modify and install the greenhouse
units. The solar film we will be using is known as CIGS(CuInGaSe2) and has an efficiency of 20
percent (Dhankhar et al., 2014, p. 217). The sun can output 1000 Watts per square meter (W/m2)
in the summer and 500 W/m2 during the winter (An, Choung, Kim, Lee, Song, & Yoon, 2008, p.
2071). With 20 percent efficiency, we will expect 200 W/m2 to 100 W/m2 from our solar film.
The solar film will be exposed for about 10 hours a day and cover an area of about ten square
meters per shipping container which will produce between 20 kW/m2 and 10 W/m2 per day.
Multiplying the daily expected power output by the expected 260 days of sunshine gives us
between 5200 kW/m2 and 2600 kW/m2 per year. This added energy input will lower the overall
grid electricity use of the system.
Shipping containers
The main structures of the greenhouse units will be made from re-purposed shipping containers.
These containers are designed to be stacked on one another during shipping and are structurally
sound. Utilizing these containers can cut down on construction costs. Each container can be
outfitted at a single facility where skilled workers assemble all of the necessary plant basins,
pumps, solar installations, and ventilation. Once these containers have been modified they can
be easily shipped on the bed of a large truck and placed on the desired plot using a crane. Some
structural support will still be necessary to ensure the safety of the stack of containers. These
supports will be a concrete foundation poured onto the lot if there is not already one there.
Additionally, the bottom crate will be anchored to the foundation the crates stacked on top of this
will each be anchored to one another. This configuration will allow Green Development to
quickly build and implement 100 stacks of five containers throughout the city of Oakland over
the course of ten years. Green development will then spend the additional 20 years of the project
fine-tuning crop yields and energy efficiency.
The city of Oakland is in dire need of local food supplies to feed its population of 500,000
citizens. In order to effectively combat the nutritional deficits facing the city of Oakland creative
solutions are needed. Green development’s proposed vertical farming units are an
environmentally friendly, scalable, and highly productive urban farming solutions. Over the
course of 30 years, one hundred Vertical farming units can produce more than enough food for
hungry citizens. Hundreds of thousands of Oakland residents will have access to abundant
sources of healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables. By implementing solar redirection
systems, solar film installations, and a shipping container construction model Oakland will be a
world leader in large city food production.
Annotated Bibliography
An, Y., Choung, Y., Kim, S., Lee, S., Song, J., & Yoon, J. (2008). Power output analysis of
transparent thin-film module in building integrated photovoltaic system (BIPV). Energy
and Buildings, 40(11), 2067-2075. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2008.05.013
The article is from a peer-reviewed journal and was published in 2008. The journal
explores mounting solar films photovoltaics at different angles. The change in angle can
affect the power output of solar films. They found an increase in power output by 2.5
times by tilting the solar films at a 30-degree angle. The Article provides a variety of
information on how solar cells work and the various factors affecting power output.
The only data used from this article was the range of energy in Watts per square meter
that the sun delivers to the earth each day. The data extracted from this article is not time
sensitive data and will not have changed over the last 9 years. This was data that was
hard to find elsewhere on the internet and was more believable coming from a
professional, peer reviewed source. This information was helpful in estimating the
effects of implementing solar in greenhouses. The power being delivered by the sun was
needed to calculate how much power a photovoltaic cell with a given efficiency could
Chen, Y., Igou, T., & Van Ginkel, S. W. (2017). Energy, water and nutrient impacts of Californiagrown vegetables compared to controlled environmental agriculture systems in Atlanta,
GA. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 122, 319-325.
This study compares the vegetable production of an Atlanta, Georgia based hydroponic
and aquaponic farms to Californian outdoor farms. The study is found in a peer-reviewed
journal. The article provides data for improvements that can be made in production per
square meter, fertilization, and water use. The article also details the vast amounts of
energy that hydroponic systems need compared to traditional outdoor systems. The
article also explores the benefits of locally produced vegetables compared to vegetables
that need to be shipped from the countryside.
The information from this article was used to establish specific benefits of hydroponic
farming systems compared to outdoor operations. The article provided data from outdoor
farms in California which was helpful because the proposal is based on changing a
California city to a green city. Information was also used about the specific layout of a
hydroponic farm using shipping containers. The breakdown of vegetable production per
a given shipping container was helpful in estimating the output of vertical urban farms
implemented in Oakland. The comparison between hydroponics and aquaponics was
instrumental in choosing between those two options.
Despommier, D. (2013). Farming up the city: the rise of urban vertical farms. Trends in
Biotechnology, 31(7), 388-389. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.03.008
This journal article details various benefits of controlled environment agriculture growing
operations. This journal is scholarly and peer-reviewed, and the author’s credentials are
listed in the document. The article provides an overview of the development of
controlled environment agriculture and the economic and environmental improvements
that can be made over outdoor farms. Details on the history of agriculture and specific
downsides to traditional outdoor farming are presented. The article also covers various
jobs and employment opportunities available at a vertical farm. Finally, the article makes
discusses the possible future of vertical farming and how it can impact human ecology.
The information from this article was useful in developing a big picture view of the
benefits and downsides of vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture. The
various topics that were discussed became topics of further research throughout the paper.
The focus on productivity enhancements per a given area of land and pollution reduction
were particularly helpful. Also, the discussion of employment opportunities was useful in
exploring the economic impact of employing vertical farms in a city. The information
provided on downsides of vertical farming inside a city were also useful in developing
solutions and innovations for urban vertical farming.
Dhankhar, M., Singh, O. P., & Singh, V. (2014). Physical principles of losses in thin film solar
cells and efficiency enhancement methods. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,
40, 214-223. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2014.07.163
This Journal article contains detailed inf …
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