Cultivating Success: Ventilation Solutions for Vertical Farming


What is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming, a revolutionary approach to agriculture, entails the cultivation of crops in vertically stacked layers or structures, often within controlled indoor environments. This innovative method maximises space utilisation and resource efficiency, allowing for year-round cultivation in urban settings and regions with limited arable land. By harnessing advanced technologies such as hydroponics, aeroponics, and LED lighting, vertical farms can optimise growing conditions and minimise environmental impact. However, ensuring proper airflow management within these vertical setups is paramount to sustaining healthy crop growth and achieving optimal yields.

The UK, with its limited arable land and unpredictable weather conditions, stands to benefit significantly from the adoption of vertical farming. This method could help address the growing demand for locally sourced, fresh produce, reduce the reliance on imported goods, and enhance food security. By implementing vertical farming, the UK can also reduce the environmental impact of traditional farming practices, such as soil degradation and excessive water use. Furthermore, vertical farming allows for the cultivation of crops in urban areas, reducing transportation costs and emissions.

Optimising Airflow: The Key to Successful Vertical Farming

Airflow plays a vital role in maintaining the ideal microclimate for crop growth, directly impacting plant health, yields, and quality. With multi-layer racks and confined spaces, vertical farms face unique ventilation challenges that traditional greenhouse systems cannot adequately address.

Vertical farms however, with their stacked tiers of cultivation, are susceptible to the formation of microclimates - pockets with temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels that deviate from the set points. Improper air circulation leads to stagnant zones, enabling the growth of mould, mildew, and disease vectors that can decimate crops. Existing solutions like oscillating fans and laminar airflow systems have proven ineffective in consistently distributing air evenly throughout the facility.

Recognising these unique challenges, via KE GreenDuct via KE Fibertec has developed comprehensive airflow management systems tailored explicitly for vertical farming operations. KE GreenDuct fabric ducts are designed to deliver precisely conditioned air uniformly across grow racks, shelves, and plant canopies.

Microclimate Control with KE GreenDucts
Strategic placement of fabric ducts allows for active management of airflow, light, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels on a per-shelf basis. Growers can adjust airflow between 25-100% of nominal levels to accelerate or decelerate growth as needed. Typical air velocities of 0.2-0.5 m/s prevent stagnant air pockets while gently brushing over plants to enhance transpiration and nutrient uptake.

Room Climate Control for Consistent Conditions
For facilities requiring an evenly distributed environment, KE GreenDuct's room climate control solution places ducts strategically along aisle spaces. This layout ensures uniform air dispersion with minimal stratification, ideal for mobile rack systems and growth chambers up to 6 meters tall. Linear venting along the duct lengths further optimise distribution.

Sustainable, Hygienic, and Customisable
Developed from KE Fibertec's five decades of experience in critical food industry environments, KE GreenDucts prioritise hygiene and sustainability. The ducts can be treated with an environmentally-friendly antibacterial coating and can integrate cradle-to-cradle principles for a fully sustainable airflow system. Each installation is custom-designed using KE's TBV-Designer software to model precise airflows tailored to the facility's layout.

As vertical farming continues its rapid ascent, prioritising purposefully engineered airflow solutions is paramount for achieving consistent quality, high yields, and maximum crop resilience. With KE GreenDuct's climate control systems, indoor growers can optimise every aspect of their operation's microclimate - fuelling the future of sustainable, localised food production.

You can read more on KE GreenDuct here. Should you wish to discuss GreenDuct or any of our textile based ventilation solutions, please get in touch with our Technical Engineer Mark Berry on 02382 511054 or email