Sep 18, 2020

Infarm's cloud-connected agritech farming facilities

Infarm
Cloud
Big Data
agritech
William Smith
2 min
Berlin-based Infarm creates “growing environments” close to points of purchase or consumption, such as restaurants and supermarkets
Berlin-based Infarm creates “growing environments” close to points of purchase or consumption, such as restaurants and supermarkets...

As recent and ongoing climate emergencies in the breadbaskets of the world, such as the California wildfires, have shown, urgent solutions are needed for food security.

Berlin-based Infarm creates “growing environments” close to points of purchase or consumption, such as restaurants and supermarkets. A cloud-based system gathers data points about growing plants, applying big data, IoT and cloud analytics technologies to improve the growth of future generations.

The company operates in 10 countries and 30 cities, harvesting over 500,000 plants monthly, and partners with leading retailers such as Marks & Spencers, Aldi and more.

Its vertical farming approach, which involves growing crops in stacked layers via soil-free techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, allows it to use 99.5% less space than soil-based agriculture and 95% less water.

The company yesterday announced a $170mn Series C round, which sent total funding to over $300mn. The round was led by LGT Lighthouse, with participation from Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, Latitude, Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital and Astanor Ventures.

In a press release, Erez Galonska, Co-founder and CEO of Infarm, said: "The coronavirus pandemic has put a global spotlight on the urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time. At Infarm, we believe there's a better, healthier way to feed our cities: increasing access to fresh, pure, sustainable produce, grown as close as possible to people. 

“[...] this investment will help us make a truly global impact through our network, preserving the thousands of acres of land, millions of liters of water and ultimately change the way people grow, eat and think about food."

The company said it would use the capital to invest in infrastructure, research and development, and hiring talent, with facility space expected to grow 10 times in the next five years.

Dharmash Mistry, Partner of LGT Lightstone, said: "We are excited to partner with the Infarm team to accelerate their urban vertical farm vision, ultimately creating a more sustainable food system for a growing population. Fresher, tastier and healthier food using 95% less land and water, no pesticides and 90% less transport. With over $1bn of customer demand, partnerships with 17 of the top 50 global grocers, Infarm is set to revolutionise the market behind a unique 'demand led' modular business model. We look forward to working with Erez, Guy and Osnat to create a better, healthier, and tastier future."

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Jun 22, 2021

Is Cloud Computing Environmentally Friendly?

Technology
Cloud
computing
datacentre
3 min
The environmental footprint of the online world is constantly expanding as its energy consumption rises to meet demand, so how green is cloud computing?

Cloud adoption was well underway before the coronavirus pandemic hit but it has definitely accelerated more organisations to make a move. 

Research from NetApp has found that a large majority of users (86%) felt the cloud has become essential to their business and many of them saw it as playing a greater role in their storage strategies. Some 87% viewed storing data in the cloud as easier than other methods.

Flexera, revealed that almost all organisations are using at least one cloud with 99% of respondents saying they are using at least one public or private cloud. 97% of respondents utilise at least one public cloud, while 80% have at least one private cloud. 78% of respondents are using hybrid cloud.

By pursuing a green approach, Accenture analysis suggests migrations to the public cloud can reduce global carbon (CO2) emissions by 59 million tons of CO2 per year. This represents a 5.9% reduction in total IT emissions and equates to taking 22 million cars off the road. 

 

A greener cloud

Selecting a carbon-thoughtful provider is the first step towards a sustainable cloud-first journey. Cloud providers set different corporate commitments towards sustainability, which in turn determine how they plan, build, power, operate, and retire their data centres.

The Google Cloud platform has committed to operating its data centres carbon-free 24/7 by 2030, rather than rely on annual direct energy matches. In 2020, Google became the first company to achieve a zero lifetime net carbon footprint, meaning the company has eliminated its entire legacy operational carbon emissions. According to Google, their data centers are twice as energy-efficient as a typical data centre, and they now deliver seven times more computing power for the same amount of electrical power than they did six years ago.

Microsoft has committed to shifting its data centres to 100% supply of renewable energy by 2025 through power purchase agreements (PPAs). The company has launched its ambition to be carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 to remove all carbon emitted by the company since 1975. Microsoft Azure’s customers can access a carbon calculator that tracks emissions associated with their own workload on the cloud.

A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the continued adoption of cloud computing could prevent the emission of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 2021 through 2024.

"The idea of 'green IT' has been around now for years, but the direct impact of hyperscale computing can have on CO2 emissions is getting increased notice from customers, regulators, and investors and it's starting to factor into buying decisions," said Cushing Anderson, programme vice president at IDC. "For some, going 'carbon neutral' will be achieved using carbon offsets, but designing datacentres from the ground up to be carbon neutral will be the real measure of contribution. And for advanced cloud providers, matching workloads with renewable energy availability will further accelerate their sustainability goals."

Accenture analysis shows that customising applications to be cloud-native can stretch carbon emission reduction to 98%. Customisation requires designing applications to take full advantage of on-demand computing, higher asset utilisation rates, and dynamic allocation of computing resources. Cloud computing is also a way of reducing the use of resources such as paper, electricity, packing materials, and much more.

For companies striving to cut carbon emissions and to become more sustainable, cloud computing is definitely an option. Taking the steps to choose the right providers and making the businesses more efficient is key to having the wanted end result.

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