Nanoracks Partners with Abu Dhabi to Combat Food Insecurity
Nanoracks is building an AgTech research program in Abu Dhabi as part of an United Arab Emirates initiative to invest in its AgTech ecosystem. The StarLab Space Farming Center will be a commercial space research facility to study space-based innovations in AgTech that can be applied on Earth to address climate change-caused food insecurity.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) project, announced Tuesday, also includes partnerships with tech farming venture Pure Harvest and e-grocery platform FreshToHome. The three companies will receive financial and non-financial incentives totalling $41 million (AED 152 million).
Giving more details about the project in an op-ed, Nanoracks CEO and Co-Founder Jeffrey Manber said Nanoracks is building a team that will be located both in Houston and Abu Dhabi. At first, Nanoracks plans to use the International Space Station (ISS) for AgTech experiments and production and someday use recoverable satellites and orbiting greenhouses for the work.
“Thirty years of research has produced tantalizing evidence that the environment of space, while very strange and harsh, can produce AgTech products that are hardier than those on Earth, or grow seedlings more quickly than on Earth. It seems that the mix of radiation present in outer space and the microgravity environment, combine to yield unique biomass products,” Manber commented. “Much of the technology used for vertical, urban and closed environment agriculture initially came from space research from 30 years ago, and Nanoracks is excited to synergize these technologies back with in-space exploration.”