EdeN - Efficient decentralized sustainable food production

In the EdeN project, a decentralized vertical farming concept is extended to meet circular economy requirements. The combination of vertical farming with closed energy-, resource- and distribution-loops is a possible disruptive concept in food production. The developed concepts will be accessible and transferable to other food producers, and its limitations will be pointed out.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

On the way to a circular society, efficient, and sustainable food production is an essential building block for success. The growing world population, new and intense weather extremes, as well as interrupting global supply chains are major challenges for traditional food production. One way to solve these problems is "decentralized vertical farming", which focuses on food production in controlled environments. The advantages of this concept are shorter delivery times, reduced weight of the plant beds and the vertical farming concept, which increases the harvest per m2.

Contents and goals

Despite the advantages mentioned above, there is potential for further developing this concept in the direction of the circular economy. Decentralized vertical farming in combination with closed energy, resource and distribution cycles is a new, disruptive concept in food production.

Methodological approach

With regard to energy consumption, a technology concept for a stand-alone system is developed. To this end, system components are designed to be more energy efficient, IoT devices are used to measure and control the system, and operation is made more efficient by using the collected system data. The resource cycles are further closed by new products.
In addition, a knowledge management tool for the exchange of information and experiences is selected and filled with respective content. This makes operations more efficient, the yield higher and other interested parties motivated to transfer the concept or parts of it to other areas.
Another critical aspect of sharing information and enabling traceability of products in the food supply chain is trusted information. Therefore, one more output of the project is the development of a digital framework for tracking food, which measures sustainability and positively influences customers' purchasing decisions. A socio-technical result of the project is the definition of requirements for the labeling of sustainable and regional food.

Expected results

The result of the project is to improve the circular economy of an aquaponic system, to make concepts or parts of them accessible and transferrable to other food manufacturers and to show the advantages and limitations of a network of several aquaponic manufacturers within a production network.

Project Partners

Project management

  • FH-Prof. Dr. Thomas Felberbauer


  • St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences

Partners of the project consortium

  • Fachhochschule St. Pölten ForschungsGmbH,
  • Research Studios Austria Forschungsgesellschaft,
  • Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH,
  • AndersFarm GmbH,
  • BEIA GmbH

Contact Address

FH-Prof. Dr. Thomas Felberbauer
St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences
Campus-Platz 1
3100 St. Pölten