Hydroponics vs Aeroponics
The basic difference is that neither method uses soil to grow plants; however, with hydroponics, water is used as a growing medium. In aeroponics, no growing medium is used. Instead, the roots of plants are suspended or hung in a dark chamber and periodically sprayed with nutrient-rich solution.
In both cases, the possible implementations are vast. New ideas and projects are sprouting up constantly and with plenty of room to grow, it is an industry which is ripe for harvest.
The Grandpa Dome in Japan is one of the more interesting projects as the plants push out towards the edge while growing making it a simple method that anyone can use. Seeds are planted in the middle and that’s that. No farming experience required.
The entire circle rotates automatically thereby pushing the vegetables out in the process. The rotational motion of the circle is driven by the blue taps at the edge of the circle. The seedlings are sown everyday with the vegetable coming out after around 30 days- appearing on the outer row of the circle where they’re harvested. The circle rotates for an hour per day.
One of the companies leading the way in aeroponics is Aerofarms which uses a reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing, and harvesting. Cloth has a number of benefits such as durability and reusability, increased cleanliness and sanitation, and the efficient harvest of a dry and clean product.
Benefits of Aeroponics
Some of the benefits they boast are:
- Year-round, high-quality production with better yields,
- No pesticide usage,
- 95% less water usage,
- No harmful run-off protecting the environment,
- A closed-loop system able to recycle nutrients.
By using an LED lighting system and having full control over the environment in which they grow, aeroponic methods like this ensure the ability to grow year round in any climate with very little water and energy required.
Aerofarms boasts that it is comprised of modules that serve as the building blocks of a system that can be stacked vertically or attached lengthwise. This modular approach allows for flexibility of location, higher yield per square foot of floor space, and speedy installation.
Developed by Dr. Ed Harwood, a former professor at Cornell University, we now have over 11 years of farming experience optimizing for taste, texture, nutrition, and yield. They have sold farming technology and systems to other farmers in other locations, both domestically and internationally, helping them grow pristine produce.
They are building a brand new state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and what will be the world’s largest indoor vertical farm for baby leafy greens and herbs based on annual growing production in Newark, NJ.
They hope to redefine not only the Garden State, but also agriculture overall. In addition to the NY Metro area, they have immediate plans for multiple farms in major US cities and also have farms in development in three other continents helping to grow locally at scale.
Nearly any plant can be successfully grown using aeroponics, especially vegetables. The plants grow faster, yield more, and are generally more healthy than those grown in soil. Hydroponics still have value as does traditional farming methods. However in the fight to ensure the ability for everyone on the planet to have access to healthy food, there are no shortages of usable methods. From villages in the desert to urban skyscrapers we can see now a possible future that is becoming more of a reality every day.