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Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a technology based approach toward food production. The aim of CEA is to provide protection and maintain optimal growing conditions throughout the development of the crop. Production takes place within an enclosed growing structure such as a greenhouse or building. Plants are often grown using hydroponic methods in order to supply the proper amounts of water and nutrients to the root zone.
CEA optimizes the use of resources such as water, energy, space, capital and labor.
- Temperature (air, nutrient solution, root-zone)
- Humidity (%RH)
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Light (intensity, spectrum, interval)
- Nutrient concentration (PPM, EC)
- Nutrient pH (acidity)
In research, CEA is useful for isolating specific environmental variables for closer study. For example, researchers may study photosynthesis by comparing a crop from a greenhouse with special pane tinting with one that is not tinted. The advantage is that all other factors can be kept constant, reducing the incidence of another influence on the experiment.
A February 2011 article in the magazine, "Science Illustrated" states, :In commercial agriculture, CEA can increase efficiency, reduce pests and diseases, and save resources.... Replicating a conventional farm with computers and LED lights is expensive but proves cost-efficient in the long run by producing up to 20 times as much high-end, pesticidee-free produce as a similar size plot of soil. Fourteen thousand square feet of closely monitored plants produce 15 million seedlings annually at the solar-powered factory. Such factories will be necessary to meet urban China's rising demand for quality fruits and vegetables.
- Building-integrated agriculture
- Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at the University of Arizona
- Vertical farming
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