Netled manufactures and delivers advanced indoor farming facilities where optimal cultivation conditions are created artificially. In these vertical farming facilities that utilise Netled’s proprietary Vera® technology, plants are cultivated on several levels, allowing cultivation areas that are many times larger than those achieved in horizontal farming. Air humidity and irrigation are controlled automatically, and the plants thrive under light distributed by an LED lighting system.
‘Cultivation conditions that are as close to natural conditions as possible are achieved by means of technology. In practice, the plants do not receive any sunlight at any stage,’ explains Netled’s Head of Technology Petja Mäntylä.
In cultivation facilities, conditions must remain optimal despite the changing seasons.
Koja Oy and Chiller Oy, which are part of Koja Group, delivered an air handling and cooling solution to a farming facility in Sweden to ensure optimal cultivation conditions. The delivery included eight Future® air handling units and a Chillquick chilled water station with an energy recycling feature.
Acting as air-circulation machines, the Future® units are used to cool and dry the cultivation premises. For drying, cooling and heating energy is required simultaneously. Condensate heat from the Chillquick chilled water station used for cooling is recovered and recycled as heating energy. Therefore, the chilled water station generates cooling energy and recycles heat from condensate as heating energy.
The cultivation facility’s cooling system generates a significant amount of condensate. Koja has extensive experience of the management of large volumes of condensate generated by cruise liner cooling systems, and similar solutions were also utilised in this project. Condensate generated by the facility’s processes is recovered and utilised directly in the irrigation of the plants, taking sustainability and recycling to a new level.
Netled’s customers can decide how they want to use the condensate heat energy
In Netled’s solution, Chiller’s chilled water station benefits Netled’s clients, who can decide how the condensate heat recovered in the process is used. Some clients require the energy for the optimisation of the cultivation conditions, while others used it to heat other premises. For Netled, the project marked a new milestone.
‘Thanks to this project, Netled has made the giant leap from a medium-sized operator to a large supplier. It would be accurate to say that we now operate on an industrial scale. This has not gone unnoticed in the market, and new contacts have already emerged,’ says Mäntylä, pleased with the project.
The latest industrial-scale vertical farming facility to utilise Netled’s Vera® technology was completed in Pirkkala, in Finland, at the end of 2022.
Emphasis on Finnish production
Netled is happy with its collaboration with Chiller and Koja. According to Ryhänen, Koja Group offers exceptionally extensive know-how in the creation and maintenance of optimal conditions. In addition to the company’s innovative ventilation, cooling, heating and heat recovery solutions, Netled appreciated its collaboration partner being based in Finland.
– Mäntylä says: ‘Netled appreciates the fact that Koja Group is based in Finland. When both partners have operations in Finland, communications run smoothly and all unnecessary red tape is conspicuous by its absence. It is easy to ask for support, assistance and advice, and it is also received quickly. It is great to see that Finland, despite being such a small country, offers a wide range of modern innovations and strong industrial expertise.’
– I want to thank Chiller and Koja for seamless collaboration. This project exceeded all expectations. We had the opportunity to learn new things, expand our operations and increase our business. Now, we are focusing on satisfying the increased interest in our services, while having our sights set firmly on the future. I hope we will have an opportunity to work together with Chiller and Koja again in the future,’ says Mäntylä.