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Article

Exploring the Environmental Performance of Urban Symbiosis for Vertical Hydroponic Farming

1
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Life Cycle Management and Sustainable Society, Valhallavägen 81, 114 27 Stockholm, Sweden
2
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED), Teknikringen 10b, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6724; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236724
Received: 25 October 2019 / Revised: 19 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 27 November 2019
Vertical farming has emerged in urban areas as an approach to provide more resilient food production. However, a substantial share of the material requirements come from outside their urban environments. With urban environments producing a large share of residual and waste streams, extensive potential exists to employ these material and energy streams as inputs in urban farming systems to promote more circular economy approaches. The aim of this article is to assess the environmental performance of employing residual material flows for vertical hydroponic farming in urban environments in order to support more circular, resilient, and sustainable urban food supply. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to assess replacing conventional growing media and fertilizers with urban residual streams. Paper, compost, and brewers’ spent grains were assessed for replacements to conventional gardening soil employed in the studied system. Biogas digestate was also assessed as a replacement for conventional fertilizers used in the recirculating water bath. The results suggest that large environmental performance benefits are illustrated when conventional growing media is replaced. Although not as significant, employing fertilizers from residual urban streams also leads to large potential benefits, suggesting the two residual streams have the potential for more circular hydroponic systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban symbiosis; food; hydroponic; industrial symbiosis; urban farming; life cycle assessment (LCA); horticulture; circular economy urban symbiosis; food; hydroponic; industrial symbiosis; urban farming; life cycle assessment (LCA); horticulture; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martin, M.; Poulikidou, S.; Molin, E. Exploring the Environmental Performance of Urban Symbiosis for Vertical Hydroponic Farming. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6724. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236724

AMA Style

Martin M, Poulikidou S, Molin E. Exploring the Environmental Performance of Urban Symbiosis for Vertical Hydroponic Farming. Sustainability. 2019; 11(23):6724. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236724

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martin, Michael, Sofia Poulikidou, and Elvira Molin. 2019. "Exploring the Environmental Performance of Urban Symbiosis for Vertical Hydroponic Farming" Sustainability 11, no. 23: 6724. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236724

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