This shipping container is being turned into an enclosed growing environment, the prototype of a customizable and shippable system being developed at the University of Manitoba. photos courtesy of Zhang research group, University of Manitoba A research group at the University of Manitoba is working on a customizable and shippable growing system to help address issues of food security in northern communities. Spearheaded by Dr. Qiang Zhang, professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering, the design makes use of old shipping containers then adds insulation to the walls, installs grow lights, and builds other customizable parts tailored to the community’s needs. Once built, individual elements are dismantled, packed into the container and shipped, ready for assembly at its destination. Zhang’s group is now building out a prototype with a local company, using steel containers from Canadian Pacific Railway. If all goes according to plan, they hope to have it installed in an Indigenous community located in northern Ontario later this year. “For the first demo unit, we’re going to be using an electric boiler to heat the container,” Zhang says. Other heating options that his group has explored include a wood pellet biomass boiler as well as a solar-powered […]

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