A comparison of the environmental impact of vertical farming, greenhouses and food import. A case study for the Norwegian vegetable market.

Van linden, V. (Praktijkbegeleider)

    Activiteit: OverigeAndere soorten (prijzen, externe en andere activiteiten) - (Co)promotor bachelorthesis


    In this Bachelor thesis, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of lettuce production for the Norwegian market was carried out. In particular, environmental impact of each life-cycle step of three different food production methods (BySpire, vertical farming site in Norway; greenhouse in Norway; food import from the Mediterranean region) was assessed. The life cycle includes the nursery phase, cultivation phase, diesel production phase, electricity grid mix phase, natural gas production phase, the irrigation phase and the transportation phase. For each phase, the thesis will look at its environmental impact on the categories climate change, fresh and marine eutrophication, particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification and water depletion. Analyses were performed after the setting up of a database containing all inflows and outflows of the whole lettuce production line, data about the means of transportation and transportation distances, representing, hence, a cradle to gate approach including the transportation of the lettuce from the growing facility to the city centre of Oslo, Norway. Results indicate that the vertical farming site has the lowest environmental impacts, with the exception of the impact on water depletion and freshwater eutrophication where the greenhouse site has the lowest impact. However, when looking at certain phases, it is visible that the greenhouse site is in general performing better than the two other methods. Only because of the natural gas phase and the cultivation phase which are contributing a significant amount of environmentally harmful emission the greenhouse has an overall worse impact than the vertical farming site. The import of lettuce from the Mediterranean region has compared to the two other food production methods the highest environmental impact. To get a full cradle to grave picture of the three different food production methods, further phases such as e.g. the packaging phase or the waste (water) management should be included in a next LCA. To reduce the environmental impact of the vertical farming site to an even greater extent, research on for example the switch to an electric transport mean, the use of a CO2 enrichment or a rainwater collector can be conducted.

    Geen co-promotor maar gevraagd als externe begeleider voor het LCA-onderzoek en meerbepaald de vergelijking van de milieu-impact van lokale verticale landbouw tovgeïmporteerde landbouwproducten.
    Periodejun-2018 → …
    Gehouden opHogeschool Gent, België


    • T490-biotechnologie
    • levenscyclusanalyse
    • milieutechnologie