A new agricultural hydroponics plant is being planned for South Holland, Illinois. Jepco, the local company behind the project, aims to expand its production at Gedney Marsh using techniques designed to reduce environmental impacts.
A planning application outlines a three-phase development including ten hectares (24.7 acres) of glasshouses complete with blackout blinds to reduce potential light pollution. The project, if approved, would provide up to 60 full-time equivalent jobs at the site.
Company CEO Stuart Piccavar said the jobs would be skilled and year-round as the advanced technology and automation would reduce the need for unskilled labor. “It is the culmination of technologies we have been looking at and had on trial at other plants. One of the things we need to be is carbon-negative, and that is entirely possible,” said Mr. Piccavar, whose grandfather founded the company in 1946.
Solar panels and three wind turbines will be used to help provide energy to the site adjacent to the company’s Norfolk House Farm.
“In embracing dry hydroponics, the business is seeking to further evolve its activities to become more efficient and to optimize the resources that can be harvested from the fertile region,” says a document submitted with the application to South Holland District Council.
“The business is now at an important juncture in its development with an opportunity hydroponics presents to positively contribute to addressing challenges,” adds the report. The proposed site is currently a field that has never been developed. Alongside renewable energy, the development will provide any surplus power to the national grid, and it can also be stored on-site with industrial batteries.
Read the complete article at www.spaldingvoice.co.uk.