"We wanted to optimize the traditional dehumidifier by listening to the concerns of growers, with the common challenge for them that a dehumidifier blows air too hot when it is running. Therefore, we created a dehumidifier that is also an air treatment system," said Fabien Cuq and Vincent Maley, Co-Founders of AirGaïa. The company designs and manufactures their systems in France and always works together with the grower, calculating different possibilities and adapting their solution to the grower's specific needs. "Our system provides the crop with a response to the varying needs of temperature and humidity and is suitable for all greenhouse types."
Fabien Cuq and Vincent Maley
Controlling the temperature
According to Fabien and Vincent, the air blown by a standard dehumidifier is around 10-15 degrees above the greenhouse temperature. "This creates some issues for the growers: drying out plants' leaves, creating non-homogeneous zones, and even bringing heat during the hot period of the year." Therefore, AirGaïa worked on a patented solution that allows them to perfectly control the blowing temperature. "When the greenhouse doesn't need any heating or cooling, the air blows at the greenhouse temperature. With a neutral temperature, the system just dehumidifies."
At the same time, whenever heating is necessary, the system can blow hotter air into the greenhouse at a precise and controlled temperature. For example, just 4°C above room temperature, which is a good limit for cannabis. Similarly, the system can blow cooler air in the summer. "In addition, we provide a free cooling running mode. This means that external air can be blown inside the greenhouse when it is cooler outside. We are always trying to be as energy-efficient as possible, using sources that are readily available and the cheapest." To make things even easier for the grower, the system can be driven by the climate computer of the greenhouse. Moreover, the air can be diffused via air ducts, which is a gentler option that some growers prefer for their production.
When it comes to the heat, it can be delivered to the greenhouse air, but there can also be a connection to the piping network of the greenhouse. "This way, the heat of the system can go in the water tubes for hydraulic heating." But what happens when the dehumidification generates heat but no heating is necessary yet in the greenhouse? "We can store the produced heat in a buffer tank, after which it can be used to heat the greenhouse when the temperature gets cooler at night."
A personalized solution
Fabien and Vincent explain that the location of the equipment can be adapted to the available space at the specific greenhouse. "Our units are often divided into two parts: a part inside the greenhouse and a part that is outside, in order to save space. However, we are very flexible when it comes to this. If the inside space is limited, we can put everything outside or the other way around."
Overall, when it comes to any project, AirGaïa never just delivers a machine. "We work on the grower's project from the beginning, making sure we know exactly what he wants. We calculate different possibilities with the Hortinergy software. That way, we will know what the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse will be, how the crop will react, what the energy consumption is, and so on. Based on that information, the grower decides what the best solution is for his greenhouse. Once the units are delivered, we do the commissioning, and some follow-up, including fine-tuning, for the best agronomic climate."
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