The smart green is scaling up! Food tech company Agtira has signed an agreement with food group Greenfood for a new facility in Boden. The contract is worth up to SEK 285 million. The plant in Boden is planned to be up to 10 000 m2 in size and heated with surplus energy from the Hive data hall.
The planned efforts to scale up industrial symbiosis between data centers and large-scale cultivation are now becoming a reality in Boden. Agtira and Hive Blockchain’s Swedish company Bikupa Datacenter in Boden already have a letter of intent to allow Agtira to use the surplus heat from the data hall for a future greenhouse establishment. With the agreement that Agtira has now signed with Greenfood, the greenhouse in Boden will be the first facility in their Upcycling business area, where both Agtira and Greenfood see great opportunities.
This means not only jobs in the smart green sector, but also a significant increase in self-sufficiency in northern Sweden.
“For a long time, we have had a very strong interest and desire to establish ourselves in Boden. We have prepared for it and now we hope that we can start building as soon as possible,” says Pontus Lamberg, Deputy CEO of Agtira.
“Using residual heat and modern technology, we can increase northern Sweden’s access to fresh and sustainable cucumbers all year round. The cucumbers can be sold immediately after being picked from the plant, providing an unbeatably fresh product produced in a sustainable way and with minimal water consumption”, says Ted Stenshed, CEO of the Greenfood Fresh Produce business area.
One of Sweden’s largest
The plans include a greenhouse of up to 10 000 m2. The initiative in Boden could thus become one of Agira’s largest facilities in Sweden. They are already present in Härnösand and Östersund, and also have smaller retail outlets in several parts of the country.
“We are interested in Boden and northern Sweden because there is so much going on here right now. Boden is located in the belt along the Norrland coast and will be our northernmost site. We don’t just want to grow vegetables, we want to be part of new business models and community building,” says Pontus Lamberg.
Agtira is also an employer that can offer jobs that can contribute to local and regional social sustainability.
Agtira’s business concept is based on cultivation systems for vertical and indoor cultivation in urban environments with the possibility of food production in, or directly adjacent to, grocery stores close to the customer. Under their FaaS (Farming as a Service) approach, Agtira itself or with a third party invests, sets up and operates its farming systems for the production of different vegetables and fish species, while the store or chain commits to buying the entire volume produced over a certain contractual period at pre-determined prices.
What Agtira’s farming systems have in common is that they produce food with low water consumption in closed environments, without emissions to the local environment, need for farmland or sunlight. Growing next to the store/customers also minimizes the need for transport and reduces waste.
Greenfood is a large group with several business areas in healthy food and lifestyle.
Grow in stages
“Our plan is to grow in stages. Step one in Boden is to start with the greenhouse part. But in the long term, there are also plans to link it to fish farming,” explains Pontus Lamberg, Agtira.
Bikupa Datacenter has been operating a data center in Boden since 2018 and has implemented various solutions to utilize energy surpluses.
“For more than a year, we have been in talks with Bodens Business Agency about finding a good partner to utilize the heat generated by our data center. We see Agtira as a serious partner for such an important project as being able to grow and sell vegetables all year round in northern Sweden, says Johanna Thörnblad CEO Bikupa Datacenter AB.
From the perspective of Boden Municipality and Boden Business Park, this is a major milestone that is being met.
“Agtira’s establishment of large-scale year-round food production in symbiosis with electricity-intensive industries fits perfectly with the green societal transition underway in Boden. Among other things, we focus on circularity, local food production and new workplaces where there are conditions for integration,” says Håkan Nordin, business developer at Boden Business Park.
This is a concrete development of Boden’s long-term work on industrial symbiosis, in the same area where there is already a data center heated demo greenhouse of 300m2. There, both people and the smart green have been given the opportunity to grow in combination with social sustainability and residual heat from data centers. The small greenhouse has served as a test bed for the method and the possibility of developing scalable models that are interesting for large-scale business operations like this one.
“It is an important issue for the future to increase our self-sufficiency both in Norrbotten and throughout Sweden, so even more food must be produced locally. I see the fact that Agtira sees Boden as the location for the company’s growing business operations as proof that we in Boden are involved and thinking correctly”, says Claes Nordmark, municipal councillor.
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