Power Consumption of FC


#1

Yesterday I have seen TED talk about OpenAG and immediately thought “this is cool, I want to build this”. I don’t expect to grow cheaper food, I just like geeky things.

I have read almost whole OpenAG website but I have not found anything about power consumption of food computer.

According to build instructions in Github, the power consumption isn’t negligible. One FC requires 200W heater, 90W LEDs, roughly 15 W for air pump/stone and approx. 5W for Raspberry and Arduino. I did not count power consumption for pH/temp/humidity sensors.

  • One month have 30 days = 720 hours.
  • Always on air pump/stone will consume 10.8 kWh (15W * 720hours).
  • I am not sure how many hour per day are LEDs turned on. I assume 12 hours per day = 27.9 kWh (90W * 310hours).
  • Heater with fan is turned on 5 hours a day (this is just wild guess) = 30 kWh (200W * 150hours).
  • Always on Raspberry PI and Arduino = 3.6 kWh (5W * 720hours).
  • Total: 72.3 kWh per month.

Is there anyone who measured consumption of his/her FC? How many hours per day are LEDs and heater turned on? Can anyone confirm my result?

Since FC is quite small, you can grow very limited amount of food per month. So I suppose food computer v1.1 is just really cool tech project. I don’t think someone will build it for cheap food.

Maybe if all used electronics are designed for 12V DC, you can easily use photovoltaic panels and lower grid power consumption. Though I am not sure how much.

Nevertheless I like this idea and want to build one FC :slight_smile:


Energy Consumption
#2

I have no experience (yet) and I didn’t do any measurements, but I think it is safe to assume that the leds are on for 18 hours a day.
I read that vertical farming can have up to 50kg of crops per sq mtr. the PFC is about 0,25 sq.m so 10 kg op crops can be done > 75kWh energie is about 18 euro/month which is about 225 euro per year (running 24/365) that is 22,5 euro per kg which is A LOT ! so doing this to safe money is not the best choice :slight_smile:
My assumption is that the power consumption will be a bit less as I still have doubts whether the heating is necessary at all, but it will always be expensive compared to industrial food.


#3

Yes, I’ve got similar price when I check the cost per 1kWh. :slight_smile: Nice toy but not very practical. At least not yet. So it is for people who want to build something, experiment and learn new things.

As for heating. I think it will depend on the species of crops and your ambient temperature. I think it will be necessary to cool down the air and water in some cases, too.

The whole design can be easily modified to 12 VDC only so it is possible to use photovoltaic panels and batteries. It will cost more money in short term, but maybe in long term it will prove to be more efficient.


#4

The efficiency of inverters had become very high during the last years so no real improvement on that part when changing to DC (maybe 2-3% ?). The only gain that can be achieved is getting rid of the power supplies, but most products have them build in. You would have to change all equipment ot 12VDC in order to make some improvements here, for the moment that is a long route to travel…