VIDA Awarded Project - DV002 - Zero emission of water and nutrients for greenhouse food production

Submitted by Ana Fernandes on 27 July 2020

Water Future sodium removal system for greenhouse drainwater treatment


1st of September 2019 / 1st of September 2020


Problem: Greenhouses for food production are forced to discard their recirculation water at regular time intervals. Consequently, they are emitting pesticides, nutrients (f.e. nitrates / phosphate) and water to sewers and surface water, which are seriously polluting the urban environment. The reason for the forced discard is the accumulation of Sodium in the greenhouse recirculation water. Sodium is not taken up by crops and at slightly higher concentrations it is even toxic for the crops.

Solution:  Partners researched, developed, and produced the innovative EcoGreen systeem. It is based on novel, ion-selective, membrane technology. First fieldtests showed that the Sodium could be efficiently removed from the recirculation water. It saved 80% water and 80% nutrients and enables better crop growth conditions! A concentrated waste stream without pesticides is obtained, which can be valorised for other applications. By the water / nutrient savings and more cropgrowth, the payback time of the system was determined on 1 year for larger greenhouses (10 hectare).

VIDA project plan: It will be demonstrated that the EcoGreen technoloy is ready to approach zero emission of water, nutrients, and pesticides in a 7-hectare tomatoes greenhouse. Long duration tests are currently running. The predicted economic and ecological advantages will be validated and again reconfirmed. It is aimed to demonstrate the most sustainable way of food production in a greenhouse.

Ambition: Driven by the Dutch legislation, the growers must reach zero emission of water and nutrients in their greenhouse by 2027. The consortium likes to enable the technology for the growers. Overall, it is observed that there is a huge market potential for ion selective Sodium removal from irrigation and recirculation waters. Especially in countries where fresh and rainwater are scarce for food production. The consortium likes to bring the technology from TRL 7 to TRL 9. When good results are obtained, commercialisation will be started in 2021.

Stolze filtration system in the greenhouse


Water Future

T. Stolze installatie techniek

Kwekerij Greenlight

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, under Grant Agreement nº 777795.

Disclaimer: The content of this document represents the view of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility: it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-size Enterprises (EASME). The European Commission and the Agency do not accept responsibility for the use that may be made of the information it contains.

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