Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

A*STAR’s Agritech Programme champions innovation in farming in Singapore

PHOTOCREDIT: www.a-star.edu.sg

In Singapore, the government has established a nationwide “30 by 30” initiative, which is a goal to produce 30 per cent of the nation’s nutritional needs locally by 2030 to strengthen their position on food security. This in turn has sparked an increase in research and development in agritech.

Traditional farming methods have been majorly affected by rising temperatures, droughts or flooding caused by global warming, meaning their yields are hard to predict and crops sometimes completely destroyed. These increasing disasters and worrying trends have prompted the search for more sustainable and efficient methods of farming. Many countries, governments and farm owners are turning to agriculture technology to improve their farming outcomes.

To support Singapore’s ambitious goal, A*STAR’s Agritech and Aquaculture Horizontal Technology Programme Office (A2HTPO) is championing efforts to bring cutting edge technologies to the farming community in Singapore.

This multi-disciplinary approach draws on A*STAR’s wide-ranging expertise, from biology and life sciences to robotics and automation, and enables them to develop innovative solutions that address key challenges and problems in agritech.

The hybrid lighting system maximises crop growth

One of A*STAR’s latest projects features research in sustainable hybrid lighting systems.

They find out how innovations in lighting technologies create an environment where vegetables can be produced with higher yields, reduced energy consumption and lowered carbon footprint.

This technology optimises the use of both natural sun and artificial lighting – LED, to improve crop yield and reduce energy consumption in greenhouses and vertical indoor farms.

The hybrid lighting system maximises crop growth by customising and finetuning light wavelengths – blue, red, white, to achieve optimal photosynthesis rates.

The lighting system is in the development stage and we expect the working prototype to be ready in late 2021. The programme is hosted by the Institute of Material Research and Engineering (IMRE) and co-lead by the Institute of High-Performance Computing (IHPC), Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), National University of Singapore, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and Nanyang Technological University.

Tackling Challenges Faced by Local Farms

The project targets to achieve ambitious energy savings of up to 80 per cent and improve crop yield by tackling key challenges faced by local farms:

Land Constraints
Where land is scarce in Singapore, indoor vertical farms are under pressure to produce more agricultural output per unit of land area. The hybrid lighting system can increase lighting coverage in vertically stacked farms – adding an additional layer means an additional 100% of crops that can be grown within the same area. The hybrid lighting system is also able to maximise crop growth by customising and finetuning light wavelengths to achieve optimal photosynthesis rates.

High Consumption of Energy
Indoor farms consume a high amount of energy; this is not only costly, but it is also damaging to the environment. Up to 70 per cent of electricity is used in indoor farms to power artificial lighting. Innovation in LED lighting, which uses at least 75 per cent less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent and fluorescent lighting2, has the potential to be a game-changer.

Tropical Climate Hinders Growth
Crops that do not receive enough light take a longer time to reach mature stage. In tropical Singapore, we experience cloudiness and rain for at least a third of the year, which can affect crop production. The hybrid lighting system can increase lighting coverage as and when required to promote crop growth.

A*STAR Collaborations with local and international firms

A2HTPO, together with A*STAR scientists, is working closely with local farms to further improve and validate the energy-saving hybrid lighting system.  Research collaboration agreements have been recently signed with three companies, &ever Singapore Pte Ltd, LivFresh Pte Ltd and Life3 Agritech Pte Ltd.

&ever is an indoor vertical farming company originating from Germany. They are setting up their Global R&D Centre in Singapore.

LivFresh is a local greenhouse farm that uses an advanced, data-driven, climate-controlled facility to grow local greens by applying state-of-the-art hydroponic technology. A

Life3 Agritech is the subsidiary of the local food tech start-up Life3 Biotech. Life3 Biotech is setting up Singapore’s first integrated agri-food pilot facility. Their project collaboration with IMRE is related to tunable lighting solutions for indoor farming. The developed lighting solution aims to improve their productivity in their R&D and farm operation.

Through these collaborations, A2HTPO plans to improve its research quality and introduce new innovations to the local agritech industry.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.