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s the growth of lettuce in the vert〓ical farm in Anxi, Fujian province. ZHAN ZHUO / FOR CHINA DAILY This i〓s no scene from a science fiction movie, but a common sight for scienti〓sts at a plant factory in Anxi, Fujian province, which covers 1 hectare〓 and is the largest vertical farming complex in the world. The second-l〓argest is a 0.64 hectare farm in Newark, New Jersey. Vertical farming 〓is the practice of growing vegetables and fruits in vertically stacked 〓layers of hydroponic solutions in a controlled, indoor environment. It 〓does not require soil, sun or pesticides, and uses far less water and f〓ertilizer than conventional farms. However, the farm's high-energy cos〓t has greatly limited its scale and profitability. In recent years, Chi〓nese scientists at the Anxi plant factory have mitigated the issue by i〓nventing energy efficient LEDs and recyclable hydroponic solutions, as 〓well as new energy-conserving methods to maximize a plant's growth pote〓ntial. San'an Sino-Science, the company behind the project, says these〓 new mr

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ethods have cut the factory's overall energy consumption by 25 pe〓rcent compared with its first facility. "We hope to cut more energy so〓 vertical farming can become a viable way to feed our population withou〓t polluting and straining our already scarce water and soil resources,"〓 the factory's executive manager, Zhan Zhuo, said. "The technology wou〓ld also allow astronauts, aircraft carrier personnel, and frontier guar〓ds on islands or in deserts to grow fresh produce in impossible conditi〓ons to fill their daily vitamin and fiber needs. China has 160 million〓 hectares of farmland dedicated to growing vegetables. To grow them, fa〓rmers use more than 311,000 metric tons of pesticide and 59 million ton〓s of fertilizer a year, said Li Shaohua, director of San'an Sino-Scienc〓e's Photobiology Industry Institute. "The excessive yet inefficient us〓e of fertilizers and pesticides has done great harm to our environment,〓" he said. "It's high time we find a sustainable and green way to prote〓ct our food security." San'an Sino-Science was foM

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