Renewable Energy

Carbon2Food – Boosting sustainable vertical farming by CO2 fertilization from air carbon capture

The project aims to develop an energy-efficient and cost-effective solution for IUVF based on the CO2 fertilization effect, which uses the CO2 captured from the air in the greenhouse. Such a solution can augment production and reduce the emission of CO2.



Planned completion


Main financing

Research area

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Project manager at MDU

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Food production in controlled indoor urban vertical farming (IUVF) offers a reliable alternative to food and nutrition supply for densely populated cities. It contributes to addressing the impending food insecurity, increased costs, and CO2 emission of transportation. Today, many northern countries, like Sweden, import almost 50% of leafy vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Vertical farm systems have the potential to grow these crops and thereby provide the community with locally produced food and promote sustainable development.

CO2 is an important environmental factor for plant growth and development, and the success of IUVF depends on CO2 supply, which tightly interacts with light conditions, nutrient qualities, and irrigation. Furthermore, the newly released IPCC report revealed that the global CO2 emission has continued its increasing trend, almost doubled over the past decade, and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has reached 400 ppm, leading us toward a potential catastrophe if no rapid actions are taken to control the global temperature rise below 2°C by 2050.

A significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions from human-made sources is to sequestrate CO2 from the air either by photosynthesis of plants or use carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities that can capture and store the CO2 from the air and then release it to the plants in a controlled way. Hence, combining IUVF and carbon capture could not only provide locally produced food but also reduce the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • understand the CO2 fertilization effect in different stages of plant growth.
  • find the optimal strategy for CO2 addition temporally and spatially.
  • optimize the design and operation of CO2 capture in order to minimize energy consumption and cost;
  • optimize the integration of CO2 capture and IUVFin in the local building to maximize the benefit

Activities in the project

  • Design and implementation of experimental campaigns evaluating CO2% impact on plant growth.
  • Correlation of the addition of CO2 with the photosynthetic rate with varying growth conditions.
  • Modelling of current enhanced CO2 supply and distribution and to optimize it based on CFD simulation.
  • Characterization of the available technologies about CO2capture and accumulation.
  • Measuring the performance of CO2 capture at different conditions.
  • Optimization of the design, operation and integration of CO2 capture.
  • Development a new business model for CO2 fertilization.
  • Measurment of carbon flows for the case study.
  • Carbon fixation and emission in different ways of waste management.
  • Making a carbon flow diagram.