Agriculture and Controlled Environment Agriculture

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is an emerging and rapidly growing field with great potentials. CEA can provide much higher crop yield with a significant reduction in water use compared to traditional on-field farming. It can also maximize plant quality, extend growing seasons, and enable crop production in unfavorable climatic conditions. In addition, controlled environment agriculture enables food production in urban areas with reduced food transportation distances, supplies urban communities with fresher and more nutritious produce, and provides new job markets and re-purposed industrial structures. Yet, there are challenges to scale up and deploy more CEA systems mainly because of the high initial investment, energy use, and operating costs. There are many approaches to promote the plant growth and increase the crop yield in the CEA systems, and lower the operating costs. Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) level is one of the proven techniques in controlled environment agriculture.
We are developing asymmetric polymeric membranes to (1) remove carbon dioxide from air, flue gas, and biogas; (2) remove moisture from air. These membranes can be used to produce CO2 onsite and deliver CO2 into semi-closed and closed greenhouses and also control the moisture levels inside these greenhouses.
Biogas is produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic materials (plant and animal products). Typical raw biogas contains 50-70% methane, 30-40% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases such as hydrogen sulfide. Our membrane can remove both CO2 and H2S in raw biogas to meet the biomethane specification.