1. They only use artificial light. This is an immediate cost disadvantage because sunlight is free, and there are many existing buildings that either have good windows or doors that can be made into light sources. Installing sky lights in the roof is a more expensive possibility. If any of these operations succeed as businesses they are subject to being disrupted by competitors who include natural light in their recipe. 2. They grow plants with relatively long growth cycles and relatively low nutrient density. Lettuce is an example, which takes 40-50 days to grow and has less nutritional value than kale, chard, collards, spinach and other dark greens. 3. They are too tall. Once you get above shoulder height you start to need expensive equipment like scissors lifts, which are also dangerous because they are tippy. A commercial-size facility would probably need several to be productive at a cost of more than ,000 each. Scissor lifts do not have a lot of working area so many trips up and down would be required to get work done. This adds labor cost to the capital cost. At least two people would be needed to operate them- one to go up and down in the lift and the other to bring new plants or take away mature plants. There is a lot of idle time in this approach. 4. Too much technology. Some of the vertical farms look more like technology showcases than they do like farms. Complex support systems, complex planting systems, complex feeding systems, and complex monitoring systems may all increase costs faster than they increase revenue. 5. They place too much emphasis on minimizing floor space. There are successful businesses that produce crops on one level, and cheap plastic shelves can get you up to 5 levels. 6. They […]
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