Superconductors and microchips have to be produced in a sterile environment. But what happens when a former microchip factory becomes obsolete? That’s a question facing many of Japan’s chip-makers these days, but Fujitsu has an answer to that question: If you are Fujitsu Electronics, you convert one of your excess chip factories’ sterile spaces into an indoor hydroponic growing area that is free from environmental contaminants and crop-destroying pests. That “clean room”, as it’s called, also happens to be insulated from radiation – especially handy considering the factory’s proximity to the damaged Fukushima nuclear power facility, which is located in the same prefecture.
Utilizing almost a half acre of space in a renovated microchip factory, the Aizu-Wakamatsu Akisai Vegetable Plant, part of Fujitsu Home and Office Services, Ltd., has begun a pilot program to grow a variety of lettuce that is low in potassium and nitrates. The growing process is controlled by computers to guarantee ideal water, light and atmospheric conditions for the growing plants. Compare that to the gardens located on top of city buses in New York City!
Low potassium lettuce is beneficial for people with kidney disease and the low nitrate levels make the lettuce less bitter and therefore more attractive for young consumers. While the lettuce cost a little more, it is more healthful and can be grown year round. However, if you live in Japan and/or your health requires it, knowing your lettuce is both low in nitrates AND radiation-free could be an important benefit to you and your family that more than justifies the added cost of Fujitsu’s plants.
Inside Fujitsu’s Fukushima Aquaponics Farm
Sources | Images: Inhabitat, via the Wall Street Journal.