Shimamura says that the systems allows him to grow lettuce full of vitamins and minerals two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm. The GE Japan team believes that indoor farms like the one in the Miyagi Prefecture could be a key to solving food shortages in the world. Mirai and GE are already working on “plant factories” in Hong Kong and the Far East of Russia. Says Shimamura: “Finally, we are about to start the real agricultural industrialization.”
Working in Miyagi Prefecture in eastern Japan, which was badly hit by powerful earthquake and tsunamis in 2011, plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura has turned a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs. The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth. The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). Construction was completed this July and the all-LED indoor farm is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. The farm uses 17,500 LED lights spread over 18 cultivation racks reaching 15 levels high. The LED lights are a key part of the farm’s magic. They allow Shimamura to control the night-and-day cycle and accelerate growth.