Vertical Farming

As a pioneer in plant-based production, Fraunhofer IME possesses extensive expertise in the field of plant cultivation and has access to exceptionally well-equipped infrastructure. To conduct practical research on current issues in the area of indoor/vertical farming, a multitude of cultivation approaches are employed under controlled conditions. These range from traditional single-tier plant cultivation in greenhouses to indoor cultivation in growth chambers and multi-tier cultivation within various vertical farming systems. In this context, the vertical farming systems OrbiLoop® and OrbiPlant® recently developed at Fraunhofer IME provide a novel platform technology that allows scalable production with minimal space and resource requirements exploiting a conveyor belt moving the plants wavelike up and downwards.

Our research focus is on the development, optimization, monitoring and balancing of controlled production processes for food, feed and medicinal plants in indoor/vertical farming systems.


Our services include:


  • Establishment and optimization of growth protocols for the controlled production of a wide variety of target plants (leafy greens, fruit plants, fungal mycelia, etc.) in controlled indoor/vertical farming systems including fertilizer screenings, testing of spectral light mixtures/intensities and invasive/non-invasive plant analytics
  • Determination of production metrics (e.g., crop yields, production costs, and consumption data), as well as the development of scaled production scenarios based on the OrbiLoop® and OrbiPlant® platform technology
  • Consultation on the scaled utilization of the OrbiLoop® and OrbiPlant® platform technology, including options for commercial licensing
  • Computer vision-assisted approaches for in-process evaluation during target plant production
  • Hybrid lighting technology for energy-optimized plant cultivation
  • Novel approaches for integrating vertical farming into urban architecture

OrbiPlant® - Vertical Farming made by Fraunhofer IME

Our vertical farming technologies



The highly flexible, automated vertical farming system OrbiPlant® enables the continuous, large-scalre cultivation of various kinds of plants - efficiently, cost-effective and fully independent of weather conditions, time of day or season. 



As OrbiPlant®'s "little brother", the vertical farming system OrbiLoop® is particularly suited for small-scale "instore" plant production, e.g. in supermarkets or in the food service industry.