Siemens is enabling the underwater farming revolution with digital twin solutions

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Nemo’s Garden was founded in 2021 by Sergio GamberiniPresident of Italian diving equipment manufacturer Ocean Reef Group, and his son, Luke Gamberini. Their team of engineers, divers and scientists have worked to prove the feasibility of growing herbs, fruits and vegetables underwater. Nemo’s Garden’s key innovation, an underwater biosphere, is a unique type of underwater greenhouse capable of utilizing the ocean’s beneficial environmental factors – temperature stability, evaporative water generation, CO2 Absorption, the abundance of oxygen and inherent protection from pests – to create an ideal environment for growing plants.

Not only did the team successfully harvest a variety of crops from their prototype biospheres, but they also discovered that plants grown in this environment are more nutrient dense than those grown traditionally. The next big hurdle in reaching their goal was turning this prototype into a solution that could be deployed globally; However, they did not want to wait another 10 years to achieve this.

Harsh winters, short summers and initial restrictions on seabed use limited Nemo’s Garden to one growth cycle per year, which means only one innovation cycle per year. Design changes, lengthy physical testing, and extensive manual monitoring processes throughout the growth cycle prompted the Nemo’s Garden team to look for ways to accelerate its innovation and scale operations. The team turned to TekSea’s Matteo Cavalleroni to learn how they could use cutting-edge technologies to achieve their goals. After the initial consultation, Siemens was invited to join the project and use the Xcelerator portfolio of software and its services to help Nemo’s Garden reach the next phase of development and prepare for industrialization/commodification.

“When I first saw Siemens’ digital twin technology, I was fascinated. Nemo’s Garden is a unique system and we will have to adapt to each environment in which to install it. If you can model that environment virtually before you start, you can anticipate the challenges and the best way to address them,” he said Luke Gamberini, co-founder of Nemo’s Garden. “We have seen benefits in understanding the flow of water around the shapes of our biospheres. We have a better understanding of the stress points in the structure around the biospheres. We also understand how the various interactions of solar radiation, temperature and all physical factors affect plants. All thanks to the digital twin’s ability to replicate our system.”

A comprehensive digital twin of the Nemo’s Garden biosphere has been created, including not only design development using Siemens NX™ software, but also enabling simulation of the growing conditions within it and the impact of the equipment on the body of water and the overall environment in which it is grown installed – all with Siemens Simcenter™ STAR-CCM+™ software. The Nemo’s Garden team is no longer constrained by weather conditions, seasonality and short growing seasons, or limitations in diving and monitoring. Adaptations to the biospheres can be tested in the virtual world, allowing the team to refine the design at a massive rate.

surveillance at the edge
In addition to constructing the physical biosphere, Nemo’s Garden also needed to optimize and scale the processes for growing, tracking, and harvesting the plants. To create a sustainable business that does not rely on sending trained divers to collect data, a fully digital, automated approach was developed, drawing on Siemens’ extensive experience in using software to automate traditional farming practices .

Existing video of the growth cycles along with reference data from traditional farms of the same target crops at different growth stages and health conditions were analyzed using Siemens’ MindSphere® service. From this, Siemens was able to train a machine learning algorithm to monitor plant growth and environmental conditions inside the domes.

When this algorithm is deployed in each biosphere on Siemens Industrial Edge computing devices, crops can be monitored in real-time from anywhere throughout the season via a cloud-based dashboard. Next season, these Industrial Edge devices will be connected to actuators – to automatically adjust airflow, humidity, watering and nutrient dosing throughout the season. This will form the basis of a global farming service optimized for subsea operations and tuned to each of the world’s oceans.

By truly embracing digital transformation, Nemo’s Garden has taken what started as a lighthearted challenge over dinner with friends and transformed this unique concept into a commercially viable underwater farming platform that can be deployed sustainably worldwide. Although the newly designed biospheres will not be deployed until the next growing season, thanks to the comprehensive digital twin of the growing environment, the team is moving forward with plans to further optimize their designs and automate their processes for global deployment.

“Digitization is not only for big companies, but for all companies. In fact, large profits can often be made in smaller or start-up companies. The work we do with startups can amplify the impact they are having on the world and help foster and accelerate innovation,” said Eryn Devola, Vice President of Sustainability, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “It’s easy to get excited when we find a passionate team with human-centric technology working to feed people while making a positive impact on the environment.”

To learn more about Nemo’s garden, visit the links below

Siemens Digital Industries software is driving the transformation to enable a digital enterprise where engineering, manufacturing and electronic design meet tomorrow. The Xcelerator portfolio helps organizations of all sizes create and leverage digital twins that provide organizations with new insights, capabilities, and levels of automation to drive innovation. For more information on Siemens Digital Industries Software products and services, visit siemens.com/software or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Siemens Digital Industries Software – Where today meets tomorrow.

Siemens Digital Industries (DI) is an innovation leader in automation and digitization. Working closely with partners and customers, DI drives digital transformation in the process and discrete industries. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, DI offers companies of all sizes an end-to-end set of products, solutions and services to integrate and digitize the entire value chain. DI’s unique portfolio is optimized for the specific needs of each industry, helping customers achieve greater productivity and flexibility. DI continues to innovate its portfolio to incorporate breakthrough technologies of the future. Siemens Digital Industries has its global headquarters in Nuremberg, Germanyand employs around 76,000 people internationally.

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a technology company with a focus on industry, infrastructure, transport and healthcare. From more resource-efficient factories, more resilient supply chains, and smarter buildings and networks, to cleaner and more comfortable transportation and advanced healthcare, the company creates technology with a purpose that creates real value for customers. By combining the physical and digital worlds, Siemens empowers its customers to transform their industries and markets, helping them change the lives of billions of people. Siemens also holds a majority stake in the public company Siemens Healthineers, a global leader in medical technology that is shaping the future of healthcare. In addition, Siemens holds a minority interest in Siemens Energy, a world leader in the transmission and generation of electrical energy.

In fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30, 2021, the Siemens Group generated sales of EUR 62.3 billion and net income of EUR 6.7 billion. away September 30, 2021the company employed around 303,000 people worldwide. You can find more information on the Internet at www.siemens.com.

Note: A list of relevant Siemens trademarks can be found here. Other marks belong to their respective owners.

SOURCE Siemens Digital Industries Software

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