VIDA Awarded Project - DV233 - Demonstration of an oxygen nanobubble generator in a comercial greenhouse for enhanced disinfection
Peppers at 4EverGreen
10 April 2020 / 10 December 2020
Oxygen is essential for the healthy growth of plants: it guarantees optimal uptake of nutrients and leads to healthier roots, thus improving the plant resistance to pathogens. This is a fundamental aspect to guarantee healthy crops and high hygienical conditions in greenhouses, where, to limit the insurgence of rotting, moulds and diseases large amounts chemicals have to be dissolved in the irrigation water and soil. A sufficiently high level of dissolved oxygen in the water can reduce the amounts of chemicals employed in greenhouse farming, warranting the same high hygiene standards.
Given this, it is essential to guarantee an appropriate dissolved oxygen content in irrigation water. Aquamar (the project coordinator) has developed a new innovative technique to dissolve gasses in liquids in the form of nanobubbles. Nanobubbles, thanks to their small size, do not rise to the liquid surface and therefore can ensure that gasses, such as oxygen, remain trapped in water, ensuring that plants can access it in adequate quantities. The nanobubble generator of Aquamar has been integrated in a complete machine that includes a pump and an oxygen concentrator that, in a compact and easily movable design, form a complete plug-and-play solution to dissolve oxygen into a water basin. This machine is called Pro-Vida. With this demonstration voucher, Aquamar aims to demonstrate the performance of the Pro-Vida in constantly maintaining the dissolved oxygen level within the optimal range for plant growth (i.e. 12-20 mg/L) in a commercial bell pepper greenhouse managed by 4EverGreen B.V., who is the prospective users in this project.
Aquamar and 4EverGreen will set up a monitoring facility in a greenhouse managed by 4EverGreen and measure the effect of the Pro-Vida on the growth, production and quality of a bell pepper crop and compare it against a benchmark bell pepper crop cultivated with the current greenhouse techniques. The testing will take place over 8 months, covering most of the life cycle of the crops and allowing to demonstrate the performance of the Pro-Vida in different seasons. Stichting INNOVAT.ION will support all the partners in this task through the project. The development of this technology will positively improve the operation of commercial greenhouses producing food crops. Currently, the health of the crops in commercial greenhouses is maintained by adding high amounts of disinfectants to the irrigation water. Adding directly oxygen to the irrigation water, by means of the Aquamar technology, will reduce the consumption of chemicals for disinfection and the amounts fertilizer used in the process. In this way the plants will be exposed to less chemicals during their cultivation, making the growing process cheaper. At the same time, it is expected that the quality of the products will increase, so that eventually consumers will have access to a better product at a lower price.
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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.
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