Boston (leaf) lettuce, baby spinach
Basil, dill, and rosemary
Available for major markets.
CEI’s initial focus is on growing competitively priced leafy greens to meet existing demand and capture growing demand for healthy produce. Longer term CEI will be working on other and higher value-added plant-based agriculture. Nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for example, all of which can be grown in controlled, pesticide-free sustainable environments for consistent quality and which have longer shelf lives and can be sold nationally.
CEI intends to become the cornerstone of a Controlled Environment Agriculture sector (utilizing ATGs to take full advantage of the favorable economics and business conditions) to create new and stable agricultural-based products. In this work CEI intends to engage nearby higher-ed institutions such as Cornell and Clarkson University to help develop such products.
Confluent Energies, Inc. (“CEI”) operates sophisticated greenhouses in Massena, NY to supply fresh produce year around throughout the Northeast. It does so in socially responsible ways with clean renewable energy, carbon capture, rainwater & snowmelt recycling, without GMOs and is pesticide-free. We call our operations Advanced Technology Greenhouses™. In addition to its own ATGs CEI intends to be the catalyst and “driver” to build a large complex of independently operated greenhouses providing a variety of produce for Northeast US markets 365 days per year.
The initial focus of CEI is on hydroponically grown leafy vegetables. Produce will be delivered to customers within 24 hours of harvesting. That qualifies it as locally produced, sometimes referred to as 'locavore'. This is a great advantage over shipments from California and Arizona (still supplying more than 87% of all lettuces consumed in the East)---which may take up to five days to reach their destinations, thus severely shortening shelf-life, and accounting for a large amount of waste (and taste-loss).
CEI technology is commonly known as "Controlled Environment Agriculture" (CEA). Germination, propagation, and growth take place in enclosed spaces where every aspect of plant development is monitored and controlled. Yields outperform field growth by up to 30 times per acre, with far less environmental impact.
CEI uses hydroponics with one-tenth or less the water needed for field growing. The end-product is cleaner and safer than that cultivated in the field. It does not require triple washing by restaurants and institutional buyers, as is the case with field grown produce. It arrives ready to eat, eliminating labor to prepare for serving.
Produce buyers, and especially those catering to fast-food restaurants and academic institutions, favor (indeed depend on) consistent supply. CEI can ensure high quality deliveries year-around with an exceptionally low carbon footprint, meeting the highest standards of Sustainability, EPA and ESG (Environment, Social, Governance), as now called for by consumers, enterprise, and investors.
Less water than field-grown vegetables
Percent higher yields over traditional greenhouses
Hours or less from harvest to delivery
The New York Power Authority (“NYPA”) recently commissioned McKinsey & Co. to study economic development options for Up-State New York. McKinsey concluded that Controlled Environment Agriculture represents a ”Signature Initiative” for the region.
NYPA has awarded CEI “Preservation Power” to help operate CEI’s greenhouses. This favorable rate is important as power is the second leading cost factor in operations after labor.
CEI has leased 78 acres of an approximate 2,000-acre industrial campus formerly occupied by Alcoa in Massena, NY to commence operations. The campus is now owned by Howmet Aerospace, a spin-off of Alcoa. CEI has an exclusive 5-year agreement to build out beyond the initial 78-acres.
CEI plans to invite other growers to locate on the campus to take advantage of the low energy costs, and existing infrastructure, excellent labor pool, and economic development incentives. This is expected to transform the area into the largest greenhouse complex in the Northeast; capable of supplying a large variety of healthy socially responsible agriculture year-around (fundamentally as ‘locavore’).
Massena is in an Opportunity Zone and CEI is taking advantage of that to achieve maximum tax benefits for superior returns for investors, including avoidance of capital gains.
The shuttering of large industries in the area has left a large and skilled workforce seeking employment. CEI has received a $1.2+ million grant tied to employment which is expected to be met with completion of the first 10 acres of 4 similarly sized greenhouse to be built in phases over the next 5 years.
Superior nutrition, taste, and safety.
Longer shelf life and less food waste - up to 50% less spoilage.
No pesticides, herbicides, manure, or fumigants.
Lower carbon footprint and low water usage with no fertilizer runoff into the water table.
Soilless cultivation, no need for triple washing or chlorine rinse of produce as required with field growing and no risk of E. coli, listeria, or salmonella contamination.
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Images are courtesy of Hortiplan N.V.