Saturday, January 12, 2008

What happens in Vegas, just maybe, should leave Vegas afterall!?

Perhaps not an immediate choice to lead the next agricultural revolution, Las Vegas (which means fertile plains), may in fact do just that. Vegas, one of the most visited tourist hotspots in the world, may be gearing up to become the site for a money-producing new attraction that is most definitely not a casino.

Reported on in Next Energy News, Developers are currently considering a $200 million dollar project to develop the worlds first full-scale vertical farm (VF). The VF is currently planned to open its doors by 2010 and should produce enough food to feed over 70,000 people/year.

Annual revenue from a combination of both tourism and food production could exceed $40 million/year and equal or exceed the profitability of most casinos.

For more information on the vertical farm movement, check out the vertical farm website, or Chris Jacob's vertical farm blog.

[editor's note: recent communications have shown that there is a serious lack of "factual" data to support this story: who is the developer, the architectural firm, etc? If anyone has any insight into the facts of the Vegas Vertical Farm (VVF), please let me know!]


1 comment:

Peter said...

Hi. I couldn't open the link regarding recent communication that questions the factual content of the article, but just the numbers provided in the article itself seem to be completely unrealistic. For example, it says they will feed 72,000 people from the building. If this building were one block in size (about 1.5 acres), that would give 45 "floor-acres" to grow crops in a 30-floor building. Even with hydroponics and other indoor growing, you would need on the order of 0.1 acres to grow enough food to provide the needed calories to feed a person. Thus, 45 floor-acres could feed about 450 people, not 72,000. Similarly, the "Next Energy News" article on which this was based claims that they would expect about $25 million in revenue from crops alone. $25 million is a lot of revenue from just 45 floor-acres - about $550,000 per acre. Many field crops yield on the order of $1000 per acre. Again, with hydroponics and indoor growing, you can push this up, but could you get it up to $550,000 per acre? That seems high by an order of about 100. I thik this is really an article about someone's dream, but it will be difficult to make that dream a reality because the economics, including the environmental economics, just don't work out.