Archive for September, 2017

Vertical farming: practical with fusion power

September 17, 2017

Vertical farming has the potential to provide a number of advantages over conventional farming:

  • Cut down on supply chain costs
  • More efficient use of land
  • Rewilding of large amounts of wilderness outside of cities
  • Fresher produce more readily available

However, there is a bit of a problem – the energy expenditure required to make it practical renders it more expensive to grow crops in skyscrapers, both economically and environmentally, than conventional farming.  Wheat requires a large amount of energy to grow, as do legumes.

However, if, with any luck, we have the ability to construct workable nuclear fusion power plants by 2030, the nature of the game changes, as we would have readily available much cheaper, cleaner energy than through other power sources (with the exception of the Sun, which is also, of course, providing energy emitted by nuclear fusion).

If such does become practicable, large amounts of existing land given over to farming could be returned to the wild, and established as national parks and nature reserves.  This would be greatly useful, as it would allow us to allow the lungs of the world to regenerate, as well as providing large areas for ecotourism for city dwellers to appreciate on a more primal level.

Management of the cutover from large scale agricultural operations to vertical farming would be likely to take decades, but I could imagine that by 2070 or 2080 it should be possible to return a fair amount of land to the wild.