This $US40 million robotic 'plantscraper' will feed over 5,000 people per year

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to swell to 9.6 billion, with around 66% living in urban areas. This projection is leaving many cities wondering how they will feed all those people.

A Swedish food-tech company called Plantagon is proposing that cities consider building what it calls “plantscrapers” — office towers that contain giant indoor farms. Plantagon is constructing its first plantscraper in Linköping, Sweden.

Called The World Food Building, the tower will operate hydroponically, meaning vegetables (mostly greens) will grow without soil in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution. The farm will largely be automated, Plantagon CEO Hans Hassle told Business Insider.

Construction of the $US40 million building began in 2012, and it’s set to open by early 2020.

Check out the plans below.

The World Food Building will produce approximately 550 tons of vegetables annually -- enough to feed around 5,500 people each year.

Plantagon

Source: Helgi Analytics

The front of the 16-story tower will include the farm, while the back will include the offices.

Plantagon

About two-thirds of the building will be devoted to offices, while the other third will include a huge indoor farm.

Plantagon

Companies are now signing leases to move in when it's complete.

The crops will grow using both natural sunlight and LEDs.

Plantagon

The LEDs will be calibrated to specific light frequencies to maximise production.

Plantagon

Robots will perform many of the farm's processes. This will keep operational costs down.

Plantagon

Compared to an outdoor farm of the same size, the plantscraper will generate more food while using less land and water, Hassle said. He estimates the tower will save 1,100 tons of CO2 emissions and 13 million gallons of water annually.

Plantagon

Some meeting rooms, like the one below, will have a view of the farm.

Plantagon

In other areas of the tower, there will be eateries for office employees and the public.

Plantagon

In addition, the building will include a market where people can purchase veggies. Local restaurants and other food retailers will be able to buy directly from Plantagon, which will operate the farm, Hassle said.

Plantagon

Plantagon has designed another similar indoor farm with offices, though it's in the shape of a globe. There are no plans to build it yet.

Plantagon

This plantscraper will include a spiraled food production line, which automatically moves the plants from the bottom to the top and back again while they grow. The length of the cycle would depend on the crop, but would normally take around 30 days, Hassle said.

Plantagon

The designers hope Linköping's plantscraper will encourage other cities around the world to build large-scale indoor farms that have multiple uses.

Plantagon

Plantagon is in conversations with other developers in Sweden, Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, and Shanghai to build similar structures.

Hassle believes that more cities should grow food closer to urban centres. 'This project demonstrates how to feed cities of the future when they lack land, water, and other resources,' he said.

Plantagon

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