Agrilution founder Max Loessl created the Plantcube with his basketball team mate, Philipp. Loessl studied Vertical Farming at Den Bosche in the Netherlands and realised there was no Vertical Farm solution for the home. His vision was to grow vegetables with no pesticides or soil in the kitchen where they can be harvested and eaten with zero food miles.
Loessl and Philipp, a mechatonics engineer, sketched the first Plantcube and built a prototype in Max’s garage. They joined the first ever Thought For Food (TFF) challenge in Berlin in 2013 where they pitched their idea to investors and the TFF jury who voted them the TFF winner. The feedback was that they should focus on the machine itself which everyone said was fantastic, and make it like an espresso machine. This gave them the confidence that people believed in them and inspired them to keep working on it - they even got 50 orders from the event!
Since then they got their first Angel Investor, they got over E10million and they exited the company to Miele. One of their Plant Cubes is installed in a research station in the Arctic, producing fresh food at -40’C and many are installed in homes and high end restaurants in Germany. Agrilution now has its own research lab and 30 employees.
The Plantcube uses a plug and grow system - all you have to do is place a Seedbar in the Plantcube which does the rest, watering it and lighting the seeds for the right numbers of hours per day, with no need for pesticides. It even notifies you via an app so you know when to harvest your crop. Seeds are precisely positioned in the Seedbars to ensure excellent growth. Varieties include microgreens, watercress, lettuce, kale. herbs and mixed salads and take between 1 and 4 weeks to grow.
The Plantcube uses LEDs to provide the plants with the right wavelengths they need for up to 16 hours a day. It even features sunrises and sunsets. The Plantcube has sensors to ensure it is at the right temperature, humity and air movement so plants grow up to 3 times faster. The Plantcube uses a closed-look hydroponic watering system so plants are grown with 98% less water than conventional farming. The app lets you check water levels, light timings and details of what is currently planted and when it will be ready to harvest.
This looks like an excellent way to say goodbye to tasteless salads from the supermarket, without needing green thumbs.