Fast Track Growing System
The Fast Track Growing System is built to the needed scale using modular sections. Each section contains 20 linear feet of growing line (6.1m) and is about 12 feet wide (3.66m). A section is a complete line in miniature, complete with lights, sensors, and sprinklers. The sections are designed to link together quickly, with simple connections for water, power, and data.
Sections can be stacked as much as three high. Sections linked end to end form a line. There is a slight slope built into a line, which allows the trays to roll easily using the gravity of their increasing weight. This slope limits the maximum line length to 13 sections, or 260 feet (79.2m). A triple-stacked line would comprise 39 sections, offering 780 linear feet (238m).
Lines can be placed side by side, provided a working clearance is left between lines. The robot currently used with the largest projects works on a track that limits the number of adjacent lines to five.
This is the C390 configuration, which is currently our maximum size. It fits in a building of about 80,000 sq/ft and consists of a mirrored set of max stacks (3), max sections (13), and max lines (5). The mirrored setup saves the expense of a robot, as it allows one robot to handle the harvesting in the middle of the room.
The C390 consists of 390 sections, for 7,800 linear feet (2,377m). If used for 10-day barley, it would produce 780 trays each day, sufficient to be the primary feed for 2,500 beef cattle. That is about 3,200 tons (US, metric tons: 2,900) per day.
The minimum size could, in theory, be one section, enough for 20 trays. But one needs to consider also the recipe for growing the desired crop. All environmental controls are scaled at the section level. That is, all 20 trays in a section are seeing the same lighting, water, and temperature (short of manually disabling a few lights or sprinklers in a section). If a crop needs to pass through varying conditions, that can only be accomplished as the tray moves from section to section. So, if one must vary the program, the minimum size must grow until there are enough sections to execute that program.