"What we know and found is that today, a lot of vertical farms are using unsustainable cylinders and tanks for their carbon needs, often produced as a byproduct from fossil fuel production," says Estee Chaikin, CMO at SkyTree.
"In addition, transport costs and the costs per kg of CO2 continue to fluctuate and are generally on the rise. Every offer varies tremendously as every farm is built differently, Estee emphasizes. We're first looking into CO2 capacity required for a client, and then we'll create our offer for the right Skytree unit to be deployed onsite."
SkyTree's unit displayed at Growy (Photo credits: Tilen Sesel)
Skytree is a developer of decentralized direct air capture units for small greenhouses and vertical- and container farms. Besides that, Skytree is an applied research company that captures atmospheric CO2 carbon from ambient air and provides it to different markets that need enriched- and purified CO2. The first market where Skytree delivers carbon capture units is indoor farming.
After understanding the farm's needs, a cost per CO2 per kg is set in to remedy any fluctuance. Skytree's rationale is to supply at a 20% lower price than vertical farmers are paying today. A container farm, for instance, would need up to 3kg of CO2 per day. "Beyond offering clean CO2, the economics have to make sense," explains Estee. "Our business model is based on a monthly rental fee, which includes annual filter replacement and maintenance."
(Photo credits: Tilen Sesel)
During a CO2 consultation with Skytree, the target CO2 levels are discussed, which suit the exact need of the farm. Whereas leakage is something that's often not talked about, Estee explains." Our technology is smart and can help provide more transparency about leakage. Through Skytree's software platform, controls will be available for the units based on the following elements; what time of the day farmers are growing as well as the CO2 levels that are needed for the crops.
"We want Skytree onsite carbon capture units to be of economic value and provide farmers a solution that is affordable as well as sustainable. And the ability to integrate the Skytree unit in the vertical farm's automation system helps indoor farms to control and optimize the supply of CO2 to what exactly is required for their farm and the crops they grow.
Estee Chaikin (Photo credits: Tilen Sesel)
Easy software to keep an eye on your carbon
Always connected, that's what the smart unit and its software offer. Skytree can either help integrate the software into any farm management platform through APIs or through their standalone interface. Through the connectivity with Skytree's cloud, the CO2 consumption is measured and billed for, the lifetime of the filters is monitored to ensure timely replacement, and preventive maintenance is scheduled to ensure uninterrupted operations.
At present, Skytree is building pilot units available in the EU and North America. "We're looking at feasible pilot partners that would like to collaborate with us so we can test more units in real-life conditions while we are preparing for mass production."