The consortium "Intensive agrarian production systems" concentrates on production forms with high added value per unit area and highly controlled production conditions. Adapted to the respective ecological and social conditions, production-technical systems are coupled in order to orientate the production of food and feed sustainably and to make it resilient against technical disturbances and environmental influences caused by climate change. One example is the combination of fish farming and vegetable production in closed circuits ("aquaponics").

The systems under development are primarily suitable for urban and periurbane areas or industrial areas with high synergy potential in terms of linking material cycles (water, nutrients, CO2 sinks), but also for rural areas or extreme locations such as deserts. The acquisition and optimization of material cycles by sensors, process modeling and targeted control are important. In this way, the highest production and value-added densities can be achieved on areas unsuitable for other agricultural activities. Intensive production allows products to be brought into consumption in the immediate vicinity of consumers in a way that conserves resources and reduces CO2 emissions to a minimum.  High synergy effects can be achieved by combining production directions. The next step in the consortium will be to test the combination of insect breeding, fish farming and plant production, which will produce food for human consumption at each stage, as well as nutrients for the next higher trophic level. Food production takes place in standardized, stackable and intercommunicating modules that correspond to standardized ISO containers in their dimensions. This enables intensive production without additives, emissions and waste materials.

In addition to the actual production processes, part of the consortium works on the important areas of governance (interplay between private sector and political actors) and the social acceptance of modern production methods. This also includes an assessment of the evaluation, market mechanisms and acceptance of products in cooperation with practitioners and consumers.

Existing expertise: ion-sensitive sensors, aquaponic production systems, insect breeding, crop cultivation under controlled and closed conditions, chemical ecology, controlled ecological life support systems, post-harvest quality, volatile energy systems.

June 2018 - Major project for intensive production systems approved
The BMBF has approved the major project CUBES Circle for research into the production of food in closed systems to a consortium of 25 groups under the leadership of Prof. Christian Ulrichs. A modular system of containers is developed in which the production of insects, fish and plants is linked together. More Information:

Contact person:

Prof. Dr. Christian Ulrich
Department of Urban Ecophysiology of Plants, HU Berlin

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schmidt
Department of Biosystems Technology, HU Berlin