Fidel Trejo Orozco, an engineering professor at Universidad del Valle de México Campus Torreón, traveled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to present his plant growth chamber project at the 2014 Global Forum for Agriculture Innovation, a conference where experts, researchers and suppliers of sustainable agriculture convene to discuss solutions to the world's most pressing food needs.
The plant growth chamber is a device that provides a controlled environment which allows growers to regulate and optimize the conditions needed to grow crops for human consumption. The device has climate control, lighting, water, and nutrients all within a chamber that resembles a large refrigerator and provides a controlled and safe environment for growing fruits and vegetables.
The forum was attended by visitors from around the world who presented their projects and theories to support innovation in agriculture. Trejo was the only presenter from Mexico. His work on the development of the plant growth chamber was supported by industrial and mechatronics engineering students at UVM.
The plant growth chamber can create crops in inhospitable regions such as northern Mexico or Abu Dhabi in an urban environment. "The project is aimed at developing urban agriculture and can be a foundational step in the creation of vertical farms, which brings food production centers closer to where people live, reduces the use of fossil fuels and creates new employment opportunities by bringing agriculture to urban centers," Trejo said.
It was first thought that these chambers could be used to grow fruits and vegetables in colder areas of the planet, but since the system can work throughout the year, there are no limits to the number of units that can be stocked in a building or warehouse to give populations protection against volatile weather patterns.
Trejo’s achievement is even more rewarding and encouraging because it involved students like Daniel Guerrero Correa. "The education and training I receive at UVM will pay off not only in the academic field but also will open new avenues for business and technology development," Guerrero said.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.