This module runs each September and in September 2022 it is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government: in September 2022 it is only open to applicants who work OR live in Wales. From September 2023 it is open to all applicants, regardless of where they live and work, but the fee will be £850.
Learn about the latest advances in the field of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and how to develop controlled growing systems
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a technology-based approach to food production, allowing growers/food producers and agri-tech businesses to optimise growing conditions and resource usage. CEA has the potential to increase business resilience and food security in the face of factors such as climate change and land availability. This module introduces students to the latest advances in this rapidly developing area of agriculture, highlighting the benefits of a range of controlled environments and their potential for improved products and food security.
Many thanks to our contributors -
- Intelligent Growth Solutions (https://https://www.intelligentgrowth.io/)
- Stockbridge Technology Centre (https://https://www.stockbridgetechnology.co.uk/)
- Henry Gordon Smith @ Agritecture (https://https://www.agritecture.com/)
- Jones’ Food Company (https://https://www.jonesfoodcompany.co.uk/)
The course will consist of a series of lectures and guided learning focused on:
List of Units
Why Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)?
- The challenges we face regarding agriculture and food production.
- The potential of CEA to meet some of the future food challenges
- Overview of CEA technologies.
Challenges of CEA
- Challenges and opportunities surrounding the policy landscape/net zero carbon regarding the implementation of CEA technology.
- Economic challenges to the application of CEA technology.
- Potential limitations of CEA technology implementation, resulting from economic constraints.
Overview of existing CEA systems: virtual field trip
- Technological elements of a CEA production system.
- Identifying key technologies to maintain appropriate environmental conditions for plant growth.
- Opportunities and challenges for the use of advanced technologies, including automation, in CEA.
Plant Biology and CEA
- Key principles of plant biology
- Identify characteristics of plant physiology
- Applying general plant biology principles to controlled environments
- Applying an understanding of the nature of plants to the specific constraints of CEA systems
Agronomy: growing plants in CEA systems
- Key agronomic factors affecting plant cultivation in CEA systems
- Impacts of technological choices on plant growth, and interpretation of selections made by CEA enterprises
- Viable solutions to plant production challenges using CEA systems.
- Key drivers of plant stress
- Mechanisms that plants have evolved to counter stress
- Ways in which a controlled environment can be modified to promote certain stress responses
Design considerations for CEA infrastructure
- CEA system design challenges
- Key components of CEA system technology, recognising the interconnected role of each component
- Approaches to achieving system integration
- Functional CEA system design.
CEA system control
- Monitoring and control in an automated CEA system
- Application of data capture, machine learning and web-based systems for improved efficiency
- The use of imaging techniques to monitor plants in CEA systems
The potential for co-location and circular economy solutions
- The importance of circular economy principles to the agri-food supply chain
- Key components of a CEA enterprise which enable the application of circular economy principles
- Business models and/or synergistic relationships which could improve the circularity of resources in a CEA enterprise.