According to the MacRobert Award expert jury, Edinburgh-based Intelligent Growth Solutions was nominated “for helping to reduce the risks of a farming sector facing an aging farming population and an uncertain and unstable future”. They added, “Intelligent Growth Solutions’ vertical farming technology combines engineering, crop science and agronomic expertise to manage all environmental inputs for optimal growth, flavor and longevity.” Each of the company’s modular farm systems houses crop towers in an enclosed structure in which all aspects of the growing environment – from light and temperature to humidity and irrigation – are regulated. precisely to optimize growth while eliminating wasted water.
Smart Grow Solutions not only provide tower-like farm structures, but also apply their insights to help individual customers tailor their crops to their needs.
So a farmer working for the food processing industry might optimize their produce for flavor, for example, while one working for the natural food industry might request a setup that balances flavor with high nutrients.
However, creating these growing recipes can be a complex process – adapting a system for lettuces, for example, can take a few weeks, while more complex crops like flowers or fruits can take months to determine the optimal approach to the client’s needs.
Farms can also be used to optimize the germination of slow growing crops and young trees before they are transplanted outdoors.
Currently, Intelligent Growth Solutions has a dozen farmer customers on four different continents who have already ordered over 200 towers.
Intelligent Growth Solutions chief technology officer Dave Scott told Express.co.uk it was “fantastic” to be shortlisted for the MacRobert award.
The core team that brought the technology to fruition, he added, “has devoted tremendous time, effort and personal sacrifice to this cause.
“So for the MacRobert Prize to consider us and the Royal Academy of Engineers to endorse this – for them, is a huge achievement.”
“It’s just a superb external validation of this effort.”
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The MacRobert Prize, first awarded in 1969, is administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering with support from the Worship Company of Engineers.
The other two finalists this year are Oxford Instruments, which has developed a detector that integrates with scanning electron microscopes and enables faster and superior material analysis, and Quanta Dialysis Technologies, which has developed a compact and portable dialysis machine. allowing for more flexible patient care. with renal failure.
This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square in London on Sunday.
The winning organization will receive a gold medal and members of the winning team a cash prize of £50,000.
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Chairman of the MacRobert Prize Jury, Professor Sir Richard Friend, said: “Engineering has a key role to play in tackling the greatest challenges of our time – from climate change to delivering a sustainable health system through the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.
“The range of finalists for the 2022 MacRobert Prize shows exactly that, from innovative health technology that has reduced pressure on the NHS, to vertical farming with zero water waste and a step change in electron microscopy that is revolutionizing research and innovation in a variety of sectors.
“The global impact that these dynamic and creative innovations have already had on their respective industries and on society as a whole reinforces the leading role of British engineering on the world stage.
“It shows just how far reaching British engineering is today, which will only continue given the world-class talent located right here in the UK.”