Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Zero Energy Agriculture(15593)

Michael McDonough Architect PC


The problem addressed under the proposal titled “Zero Energy Plasticulture High-Tunnel Agriculture (ZEPHTA™) for New York State” is the offset of carbon-based fuels in industrial agriculture including the planting and production, management, storage, shipping and distribution, fertilization and pest and blight control, equipment maintenance, irrigation, heating, and lighting of industrial agricultural practices in New York State. The opportunity that mirrors this problem comprises reduced demand rooted in local distribution and non-industrial production, non carbon-based fuel sources, Certified Naturally Grown and organic farming practices, and optimized first cost assisted technologies growing environments. This strategy can offset significant amounts (i.e., tending toward zero carbon footprint) of the carbon-based fuels associated with industrial agricultural production; accrue environmental benefits and support a sustainable economy; and lead to sound energy management while promoting local job creation and retention in New York State.

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Project Description

The proposed ZEPHTA™ Module facility is comprised of an energy-independent (grid-tied-for-emergency backup), self-irrigating, substantially self-lighting, passive temperature regulating, and fully portable agricultural system that can support locally-based agriculture anywhere in New York State. It is scalable from a single module to large-scale commercial plantings. The Contractor will design, build. and optimize the system to enable four-season growing with two crops per season and monitor performance to determine energy usage per pound of produce grown.


Benefits of the proposed project include: system has the potential to become zero net energy (MJ/kg of product) and carbon neutral (kg CO2/kg of product), technology transfer of an innovative idea, and significant cost advantages over other greenhouse systems.

Project Results


Michael McDonough Architect PC
131 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Principle Investigator

Michael McDonough

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products
Controlled Environment Agriculture

NYSERDA Contact Information

Tara Rainstrom


R&D - End Use App & Innovation

Contract Details

Start Date: 3/30/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 15593

Last Updated: 11/14/2014