On the initiative of the industrial bank LIOF and the World Horticultural Exhibition Floriade, a concept for an integrated and innovative horticultural project has been developed: the High Tech Greenhouse 2020. This combines innovative solutions in the field of climate, energy, light, substrate and water with each other to form an integral system for high-tech greenhouse cultivation. Seventeen innovative Dutch and German companies and knowledge institutions are collaborating in this regard. The project, led by Floriade and the Greenport Venlo Innovation Center, has been awarded INTERREG funding, and the Province of Limburg and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation EL&I are also contributing to the funding. The total investment is 3.4 million euros, of which more than one million is financed by the seventeen project partners.
Five partial developments of this Hichtech pilot plant will be realized at Fresh Valley in Greenport Venlo, where Greenport Greenhouse I has already been built. In addition, two partial trials will take place at the Hanka greenhouse cultivation facility in Kempen, Germany. After evaluation, all partial developments will then be combined and integrated into a complete experimental setup that will be tested in the field. In the meantime, the appropriate arrangements have been made to start the first trials in the greenhouse at Hanka within a few weeks.
Participants in the High Tech Greenhouse 2020 are: ISIS-IC GmbH, Elektro Limburg BV, Grodan, Hoogendoorn Automatisering BV, Vostermans Ventilation BV, Pentair Haffmans BV, Intelli Labs Deutschland, Patron AEM BV, Water IQ BV, Phenospex GmbH, Doppelbauer Anlagentechnik, Innocom-IT, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich, TNO, Greenport Venlo Innovation Center and Venlo Floriade 2012 BV Region.
Greenhouse cultivation in the 21st century, is facing major challenges in the Netherlands and Germany. The driving factors include increasing pressure on diminishing raw materials and additives, such as fossil energy sources and clean water, as well as higher consumer demands for functionality and quality of the products. Part of the tasks set can be achieved by implementing technical innovations. Hight Tech Greenhouse is a concept in which these technical innovations have been taken up. Due to the complexity of the systems, the development phase was divided into several work packages, with our focus on the development of CO2/bio-gas sensors.
The collection of environmental measurement data in greenhouses, in conjunction with downstream data evaluation and control, can make a significant contribution to increasing the efficiency and quality of agricultural products. In addition to the usual parameters such as temperature, humidity and light intensity, new types of sensors have recently become available, which in principle should also make it possible to generate direct statements about the "well-being" of the plants. Different types of sensor technologies are available, such as selective gas sensors, conductometric sensors or optical NIR sensors. These were investigated within the framework of the project, especially with regard to their use in greenhouses. The ultimate goal was to develop a multi-functional sensor platform, which, equipped with cost-effective sensors, enables permanent growth and condition control of the plant stock.
With a low investment volume, our sensor systems enable the horticulturist to optimize processes and increase yields!
As a company from outside the sector, this project gave us the opportunity to work closely with horticultural experts and thus also build up expertise in this sector. Through the project, we were able to develop a product perfectly tailored to horticulture and thus expand our business field. Our powerful and affordable multi-sensor platform enables online measurement of gases in greenhouses and bio-gas reactors. The control of growth phases and the detection of process failures is now possible through permanent monitoring of CO2, CH4, Ethylene and NOx concentrations.
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The High Tech Greenhouse 2020 project was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the EL&I Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Province of Limburg within the framework of the INTERREG IV program Germany-Netherlands. It was accompanied by the program management of the Euregio Rhine-Meuse-North.