From Scotland to the Middle East
Leaving Scotland in 1979 to work for the largest names in the Agricultural Machinery World, Graham Clark has travelled vast areas of the world. Daily work exposed Graham to numerous wide ranging agricultural crops and production techniques, however it was time spend in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Libya where crops were basically supported in poor sandy soils with all water and nutrients being fed from overhead irrigation units that piqued his interest in hydroponics.
Plans forming in Sweden
Decades later and with his wife Pia, they spent almost five years researching different production systems, crops and after several study visits and attendance at the Urban Future Global Conference in Oslo 2019, that they decided to start Algae Production in North Halland. This was based on an interesting presentation made by Professor Joe Cuello from the University of Arizona.
Several attempts at finding a suitable location to rent or buy failed and after more than a year had gone by, they then made a decision that unless they moved ahead with something, nothing was going to happen.
The current location
In late 2020 they rented an industrial space from Victorsson Industries in Frillesås, just down the road from where they live. Arrangements were made to import two Microgreen Production Units form INSTAGREEN in Spain with an accompanying Germination Unit. Arriving in December 2020 saw frantic activity to get these assembled and operational. Some modifications Graham devised to make them totally self-contained were incorporated and trial production of various microgreens started late December. Production results were recorded, and a list of favourite microgreens was drawn up for commercial production.
Cooperation with GROWPIPES
At the same time discussions were entered into with GROWPIPES in Balltorp in the South of Gothenburg. Graham and Pia were keen to install several GROWPIPE systems however space was limited, and a novel solution was needed to maximise production capability and allow space for a pillar lift truck to access for maintenance and more importantly harvesting. Many meetings and discussions followed and eventually GROWPIPES came through seeing their production units hung from the roof with the capability of moving backwards and forwards to allow truck access.
Components arrived during 2021, Victorsson’s strengthened the location roof allowing the rails holding the frames to be installed. A new electrical system was fitted by KML Elteknik AB and Candelux AB supplied the large number of LED lights allowing us to supply the lighting requirements to encourage plant growth.
Today, things are finally back on track and the GROWPIPES Units have been tested and await transfer of seed stock to start growing Salad Leaves.
Microgreen production will triple with the installation of three new and much larger Microgreen Production Units that have been mostly manufactured by WALLS SMIDE in Varberg. These will come online early June 2021.
The current facility is seen as a “proof-of-concept” location and Stage 2 based on a much larger facility is already in planning. Stage 2 will incorporate not only Microgreen, Leafy Green Production but also Algae where it is planned to produce Spirulina and also Haematococcus which is used by the Pharmaceutical Industry.