Globally, agriculture accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and uses nearly two-thirds of freshwater. Adoption of indoor farming utilising Total Controlled-Environment Agriculture (TCEA) systems has the potential to eliminate the use of agrochemicals, provide local, year-round production of nutrient dense crops, use 95% less water, and be net-zero carbon emitters.
The main challenge for mass deployment and adaption of TCEA is financial viability; the specific challenges to address in order to enable the economics of indoor farming are the costs related to Carbon intensive energy (particularly electricity) contributing 50% to 70% cost of goods sold (COGS).
Utilising TCEAs’ flexible demand to reduce cost and CO2 is a smart approach enabled through the development of digital energy services. This outcome is very much dependent on access to the data about the current and future local supply/demand capacity and available flexibility programs of the Electricity System Operator (ESO) and Distribution System Operators (DSO). The purpose of Net-Zero Operation Map (NZOM) is to identify optimal TCEA operation location in terms of energy cost and CO2 emission.
NZOM is a data driven application which will capture the planned TCEAs’ operations and processes specifications, conduct analytics to identify their demand flexibilities and integrate this with the Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) platform to give the potential TCEA operators better visibility over their expected energy connection and energy operational costs, their road-map to Net-Zero targets and creating value from the inherent energy flexibility to support ESO and DSO flexibility programmes. By combining the MEDA data with TCEA operational energy flexibility data at a detailed and intelligent level, NZOM will be able to assist the operations owners to target locations within the UK for the siting of new TCEA operations based on an informed return on investment (ROI) target. The NZOM output will be cost of grid connection, energy cost and CO2 emission of a given TCEA operation in different localities across the UK.