Automated room climate regulation for young start-ups from Vienna

IoT sensor-based solution monitors the indoor climate for optimal mushroom growing conditions. The Viennese startup Hut und Stiel specialises in the cultivation of oyster mushrooms, for which old coffee grounds serve as a breeding ground. In order to ensure optimum growth conditions at all time, The IoT know-how of A1 Digital is used.

Why can't food be produced where it's needed? The location conditions in old cellars, which are often found in cities, are especially ideal for mushroom farming. In addition, a city like Vienna, known for its coffee consumption, offers plenty of coffee grounds that provide an ideal breeding ground for mushrooms.

With Hut & Stiel, Florian Hofer and Manuel Bornbaum have therefore been successfully and sustainably engaged in agriculture in the city since 2015. Today, the mushrooms from Hut & Stiel can be found all year round not only in top Viennese restaurants, but also in various delicatessens and well-stocked supermarkets.

The coffee grounds necessary for mushroom production is mixed with mushroom mycelium and filled in plastic bags. The mushroom substrate, which is filled into the substrate bags, is then stored on mobile shelves for four to five weeks at 25 degrees in darkness in the incubation room. After the growth phase, the plastic bags move to an earth cellar in Klosterneuburg, where the finished oyster mushrooms grow from incisions in the bags at autumnal cool temperatures between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius. An essential prerequisite for successful mushroom production is the perfect combination of Co2 values, the right temperature and ideal humidity in the cellar rooms.

However, in the past, the monitoring and fine-tuning of these three climate values depended more on the intuition of the two founders than on valid data. This was a real challenge, especially in the summer and winter months. However, the two company founders came across the solution for the perfect indoor climate by chance. At one of the many cellar parties, they told an employee of A1 Digital International GmbH about their problem. For this, the solution was obvious: the IoT platform from A1 Digital in combination with appropriate sensors and an IoT gateway.

Sensors placed in the various basement rooms of Hut & Stiel measure the CO2 value, temperature and humidity of the growing sites at short intervals. The sensors transmit the data to a box, the IoT gateway. All data is transmitted to the IoT platform via the SIM card (unlocked for national roaming) installed in the box. The IoT platform dashboard has a variety of visualisation tools that allow Hut & Stiel to graphically display the different readings in real time. An alarm function warns against exceeding or falling below the limit values. The solution is designed in such a way that it can be supplemented at any time by sensors for additional readings and additional rooms. In addition, the IoT platform also offers the possibility to automatically control the various climate values. For example, the heating can be automatically powered up by so-called Smart Rules (if-then commands) when a certain temperature is exceeded or the air conditioning is activated when the temperature is too high. The platform has access to the functions of all devices and sensors and therefore enables their complete monitoring and remote control.

“A1 Digital offered us a convincing, but above all scalable overall solution for the challenge of creating an optimal growth climate for our mushroom cultivation at all times, therefore impressively demonstrating its expertise in the IoT sector. With A1 Digital, we have chosen the right partner to solve our climate problem”

Florian Hofer, Co-Founder of Hut & Stiel