"The climate-neutral greenhouse is getting closer and closer"

The number of techniques for limiting CO2 emissions or the use of chemical crop protection is increasing. But these solutions are seldom combined in practice. In the 'Greenhouse2030: Sustainable cultivation with a future', the Wageningen University & Research Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture combines new techniques in the field of heating, lighting, water, nutrients and integrated cultivation.

The Greenhouse2030 is in Bleiswijk and will be operational in April 2019. There are four different crops: strawberry, gerbera, freesia and pot anthurium. The progress of these crops is assessed by so-called BCOs: research supervisory committee. These BCOs consist of growers of the relevant crops.

Three themes were leading in the sustainable design of the greenhouse: CO2 emissions, water & nutrients and crop protection. To start with CO2. The greenhouse uses no gas for heating. It is in fact a so-called all-electric greenhouse, including full LED lighting. A heat pump is used to dehumidify the greenhouse. In this way, latent heat is recovered and the greenhouse remains more closed in winter and spring. No own electricity is generated for the greenhouse; that is purchased.

The greenhouse also does not discharge any drain and condensation water into the sewer. So no nutrients are lost, the water is used optimally and no residues of plant protection products end up in the sewer. Ozone is used to disinfect the water, so that the water can be reused in cultivation. Finally, crop protection is fully integrated, with as much use as possible of natural enemies.

Growers and researchers can learn in the greenhouse how to grow fossil-free and emission-free. That sounds easier than it is. Every crop still has its own challenges. In practice, for example, the Freesia is still a soil crop that - in order to close the watercourse - is grown in a substrate. For example, there are no experiences in these crops with full-LED lighting and active dehumidification is only taking place for the first time.

The 'Greenhouse2030: Sustainable cultivation with a future' is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in collaboration with the Greenhouse as Energy Source program.

Source: Wageningen University & Research

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