The founder of the Leipzig palm startup and Urban Greening Camp for greening and vertical farming developed a world innovation to improve urban habitats. This innovation called ‘Energy Storage Tree‘ can reduce costs of tree planting in cities and generally make urban greening more efficient and cost-effective. It involves innovative, mobile, modular, energy- and water-saving raised bed systems. Extensive concepts have been developed for initial energy storage raised bed systems. These mobile and modular raised bed systems for sustainable recreation, energy and water storage will make urban regions, large cities, small towns but also rural areas more livable. In fact, the raised beds can also be placed in village squares, tram or train stations and bus stops. Several innovations are combined in one general raised bed system and charging station. Energy and water storage enables sustainable and environmentally friendly operation. Ecological components, durability and low maintenance allows very efficient and long operation for decades – at least with minor corrections or repairs every few years. More details on the most important points will follow on the social and project pages. A comprehensive description of the basic concept and the standard variant were already published in August 2021.
The raised bed system is an energy storage station, a space or place to relax and recharge the batteries. The raised bed is equipped with small-growing tree species up to 5m. The special construction and processing of weather-resistant woods allow a long standing time, of course, it varies depending on the stand and location. The stability is increased by extra reinforced outer walls and inner walls with squared lumber in the corners, it is just taken usual measures for stabilization as it is common for raised bed construction. Due to the scalability, it can also be planted with many flowers, bushes, herbs and special shrubs or larger trees. The raised bed provides enough space and sufficient watering for the plants to grow well, also by good energy and atmosphere.
The standard dimensions for the standard design of the basic raised bed construction is 1.20×1.20×1.20m. The minimum basic or standard equipment consists of a mobile raised bed with foldable, robust and weather-resistant wooden benches or painted chipboard. If possible, the woods are treated with ecological or environmentally friendly varnishes or oils. The benches have a small angle of inclination towards the raised bed, so that rainwater can flow into the raised bed through latticed openings. All the inner sides of the raised bed are lined with pond liner and there are holes at the bottom as is common with large pots or planters. Below the raised bed there is an extra tray to catch rainwater. Excess water can drain down the side via drains a few inches above the bottom tray to prevent waterlogging in the raised bed, but at the same time water is available at the bottom for larger plants such as trees or shrubs. The lower compartment is accessible, the water can be drained at any time via a closable drain or water can be taken out for watering. The lowest side of the raised bed is extra reinforced with a solid plate, and is attached with rotating rollers with platforms made of metal or steel. Alternatively, a prefabricated rolling board can be attached at the bottom. These constructions provide extra stability and tilting of the raised bed becomes very unlikely, even with the simple standard variant, the raised bed stands firmly and stably. Due to the weight of the tree and the soil, the benches can be well loaded.
The extended standard variant contains three water reservoirs in the outer walls. One side has closable openings and extra compartments, the spaces between them are about 10-25cm wide, depending on the variant. The dimensions as well as designs are generally variable. Wide, high, rectangular or square raised beds can be made. Wide raised beds are suitable for shallow rooted plants and high ones for deep rooted plants. The benches or solar benches are set at about 50-60cm, so all people regardless of size can sit comfortably. Depending on the application, budget and location, smaller or larger raised bed systems are possible. Various casters can be attached or even replaced at the bottom of the solid top, depending on weight and size. Casters with locks and stoppers are available, or no casters for permanent and long-term installations. More details and sketches are in the utility model, concept and design papers.
Modular functions of the mobile raised bed allow a wide variation and a lot of additional applications. Lockable compartments and flaps provide access to spaces on the sides, for example, to perform cleaning, remove drains or add special fertilizer, mineral and water mixtures. The idea of give and take is harmoniously combined with the raised bed system. The spaces for the water storage tanks and lockable compartments for the modules are easily accessible and watertight. The modules such as adapters, energy storage, climate station and measuring devices are interchangeable – the latter are good for analyzing the tree or other plants, for example. The data can be retrieved, various devices and e-bikes can be charged via adapters. An expansion of the raised bed to include a mobile climate station for the city and regional climate would be conceivable, so like a connection to the power grid. The raised bed system will support the transition towards climate-neutral, greener and smarter cities and urban habitats. Sustainability and environmental awareness is additionally trained by the raised bed. The raised beds are also a meeting point for young people, pupils and students to get inspired by nature-based solutions and ideas. The raised bed system encourages raised bed construction at universities, schools and in school gardens.
Background on the sustainable and ecological developments
Ecological and recycled materials are preferred for raised bed construction. Inexpensive variants can even be realized with simple pallets or chipboard. These are previously oiled, painted or impregnated, as well as lined with pond liner so that they last for many years.
It took months and years to develop, studying raised beds and urban trees from around the world. The basic idea was born in 2017 and matured during the last months, the main reason and intention from the beginning was to make city tree planting more affordable, because especially in western countries like Germany a planting of a city tree can cost up to 3000 euros or even more – worldwide the price in big cities is at least around 1000 dollars. This was also one of the reasons to develop a mobile raised bed system which can reduce the price worldwide to far below 1000 dollars, depending on the country and material costs even below 300!
A raised bed for trees can of course also be realized with used barrels, rain barrels or IBC containers. This is especially suitable for communities and cities with little money, similar to poor regions in Africa or places with great poverty and poor soils. For this purpose, trees can even be kept for a few years in large sturdy garbage bags, as is done in some nurseries or tree plantations in developing countries.
The pattern of the simple standard variant of the raised bed system serves as a model for all cities in the world and is at the same time a good example for public use. More efficient and sustainable greening, resources and energy use is possible in the long run with different variants of the energy storage raised bed system. There is also some space under the raised bed, for example for stones. The concept and some design variants have been further developed by the Urban Greening Network project developer and founder of the new Leipzig palm startup since 2020. In August, final designs and excerpts from the general concept were published on various platforms and made available to the international community.
The world’s first nursery and vertical farming startup for endangered tree species was started by the Leipzig Palms and Urban Greening Camp project. The urban gardening company is connected with the scientific and private project for vertical farming. It is an ongoing project development until we expand into bigger halls of the building and start with the urban farming facilities for special herbs and vegetables. First we have to test a lot of vertical farming and lighting systems. We will keep you updated here and on the other official pages and channels.
There are also good news during the crisis, such as the creation of a successful startup for urban greening, green and clean technologies combined with innovation and knowledge management. Urban agriculture and vertical farming as well as plant cultivation with hydroponics is traded by futurologists as the future of agriculture. This was also a reason to develop an extra Urban Greening Camp in Leipzig years ago and to build it up since 2020. In the run-up, the first tree and plant species have already been cultivated, including particularly endangered species. Herbs and medicinal plants will be cultivated in further grow rooms which are in preparation. There is actual no vertical farming company worldwide who combines biodiversity conservation, urban farming, tree cultivation and species protection. It is also a model project and pilot for various innovative developments — for a more ecological farming and sustainable forestry worldwide, we call it Ecosystem Restoration Systems. #ecorestorsys
The greening camps will cultivate many native plants and important trees for agriculture and forestry. Cities will be supplied through home improvement stores and garden centers. The camps will simultaneously serve education and training, development and research. Urban and vertical farming is being taken very seriously in some major Asian cities, and complete greenhouse buildings (Urban / Vertical Farming Towers) are even being planned. With sufficient support, we can also realize a vertical greenhouse over several floors in Leipzig. The Urban Greening Camp will not only cultivate plants under artificial light, but also with direct daylight. Innovative solutions and developments in the field of aquaponics, hydroponics and optics will be developed and tested – barrels, canisters and water tanks are already available. A suitable building has already been occupied, and initial talks have been held with the owner. It is not just about endangered tree species, vegetables or a few herbs, but about professional greenhouse facilities, storage and logistic systems – which are also needed for some important species conservation projects. The Urban Greening Camp is a center for biodiversity and species conservation, not only locally or regionally but internationally! Many species conservationists, conservation organizations, botanists, botanical gardens and environmentalists have already been informed and invited. Berlin and Leipzig has many flat roofs, these should be used much more for rooftop greening and roof gardens.
The Urban Greening Camp and Leipzig Palm Project is a platform for cultural, socio-economic and scientific exchange, online as well as directly on site. Active participants are welcome to join the innovative developments and projects. The garden market and tree nursery will cultivate not only palms, but also other important plants such as herbs, ethnobotanical and medicinal plants. Endangered tree species and important flowering plants for bees are also in the program. Permaculture, urban farming, community and urban gardening are not just trendy terms, they are global movements that can make cities more livable and environmentally friendly. In principle, the allotment garden movement which started with the poor gardens and allotments in the 19th century is the first urban gardening movement. For years we have been supporting the movement and cities on urban greening issues. Kindergartens, schools and universities also have the possibility to establish allotment gardens on their premises, talked with a lot of people about how to establish more horticulture, community and rooftop gardens in inner cities.
Since 2016, the founder of Greening Deserts has been developing projects such as the greening and research camps for sustainable reforestation, greening, green and clean technologies (cleantech and greentech). Species protection, climate protection, nature conservation, environmental protection and especially sustainable actions as well as economic activities are important tasks of the future ventures. Ecological education and environmentally conscious actions are also important points on the Global Greening Agenda developed by Oliver Caplikas together with colleagues from the EU and UN over the years. The international Greening Act and the new Green Deal have already been successfully implemented in some countries. It is about an honest and conscientious transformation of environmentally harmful economic sectors, the reduction of global overproduction and the improvement of consumption and environmental awareness of societies and the world population as a whole. That is why many innovative projects have been founded over the years, successful campaigns and initiatives have been carried out worldwide. Many people and organizations got inspired and followed the good example.
The crisis has set back some developments and projects, but brought others forward. Like the new Urban Greening project in Leipzig, which is currently focusing on innovative plant cultivation, storage and cooling systems – especially with regard to green building, sustainable architecture, energy storage and economical water management. All of this will be incorporated into future vertical farming solutions and systems that will be developed at the Urban Greening Camp. Solar, wind and water energy applications will play a crucial role. A research facility on a larger roof could show that green roofs and solar systems are possible at the same place and time, for which the Agrovoltaik project was founded. Another important topic is the education and increased promotion of facade solar systems, hydrogen energy storage, transparent solar technologies and Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT). Very interesting in this context is the combination of highly efficient processes for hydrogen production from solar and wind energy. It is so innovative like facade greening and solar facades for cooling and heat storage. Energy efficiency and energy storage plays a special role in the urban cooling and urban greening process. Insulation materials made of hemp and hemp wood are further innovations that are being promoted particularly strongly in Canada and Austria. Germany should not lose touch in many respects.
The founder has informed many international institutions and universities about the potentials, especially in the field of building technology and energy storage solutions. In the future, buildings could be efficient energy storage devices and decentralized power plants; it is the future of a truly sustainable energy economy and more economical use of natural resources. Facade greening and photovoltaic facades can also protect against high heat and store heat. Urban greening in general can help cool cities and, of course, provides fresh air. More light-colored surfaces, such as lighter asphalt and concrete are also a good option; in New York and other cities, roofs have already been painted white to cool buildings. Greening cities and urban regions is key to urban cooling and thus global cooling.
We invite interested investors, strong partners and sponsors to join the further project development. In late summer, the first round and official meeting of interested parties will take place. Representatives of the city of Leipzig, Halle, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg and other interested cities are also invited. We are looking forward to a successful start of the new startup and a greener future. Check also Greening Deserts other innovative projects like the Greenhouse and Recycling Ship! Together with other Startups we develop(ed) mobile greenhouse solutions so like greenhouse, solar and water containers which can collect and filter rainwater. We want to establish desalinization plants and applications for coastal greening and reforestation. Years ago we published some great concepts to use nature-based solutions like bamboo for loosen hard soils, to filter sea water and to improve the groundwater levels. @ #ecofarming #ecoforestry #ecorestorsys #greeningcoasts
Some more important points and summer updates:
The Leipzig Palms project and Urban Greening Camp is the world’s first nursery and vertical farming startup for indoor arboriculture and endangered tree species! Herbs and medicinal plants are cultivated in further grow rooms. We will use innovative cleantech, greentech and vertical farming techniques for tree cultivation and plant breeding of important plants.
There is no other vertical farming company worldwide who combines biodiversity, conservation, cleantech, greening, greentech, tree cultivation and urban farming. Welcome to the future of arboriculture!
The Urban Greening Camp, nursery and vertical farming startup for endangered tree species saving much energy, place, time, water and other resources by innovative management and real sustainable solutions.
The indoor farming startup in Leipzig works on the next room for critically endangered tree species, herbs and seed storage. Vertical farming will reach new dimensions with cleantech and greentech developments.
The vertical farming company office and workshop are connected with a large corridor to the other rooms and the main hall. The next room for critical endangered tree species is in progress. There are much more rooms, halls and floors in the building we can use in future – or we move to another similar building.
More classic and modern plant growing systems with good soils and substrates will be tested together with new grow lights and hydroponic systems. Manufacturers and sponsors are welcome to send us their products for testing and presentation.
We will test new light systems, not just LED, LEC, HID and CFL lights with optimal light for each plant or tree species and phases of growth — we call it the right light management. Lasers, robotics, sensors and webcams will improve the vertical farming results in future.
Big thanks to the colleagues from Max Planck Society, New York and Toronto University for showing some support during the years — thanks going also to all the other institutions and organizations who don’t ignored the information letter. To all interested parties, welcome on board! You are always welcome to visit the camp in future. Your friend of nature from Leipzig in Saxony, Germany. Oliver G. Caplikas