Revolutionary greenhouse cover tech unveiled in Europe

July 12, 2012
Written by
Aquatop is an innovative symbiosis of a smart cover and an energy pool on top of a greenhouse.
Aquatop is an innovative symbiosis of a smart cover and an energy pool on top of a greenhouse.
Aquatop, a new ‘smart’ cover for greenhouses that allows both energy and light management, features cutting-edge heat exchange technology involving a large area of water. The tech was just presented at High-Tech Greenhouse 2020 (part of Floriade 2012 World Horticultural Expo in the Netherlands).

Project partner KEMA says Aquatop’s thermal and optical properties can be controlled to suit conditions inside and outside the structure. The company calls it a fundamental rethinking of traditional greenhouse design.

With this technology, the degree of light filtering and hazing can be regulated at all times. “The Aquatop R&D project is looking at various possible additives to give the water layer the desired properties," KEMA states.

"With spectrally selective absorbers added, the water layer will prevent uncontrolled or unwanted heating of the greenhouse. This will have various advantages, including less need for ventilation and reduced CO2 loss. Furthermore, it will be possible to ‘harvest’ energy from the heated water on the roof.

The Aquatop will also be capable of acting like a traditional darkening screen: the grower will be able to reduce the total amount of light passing through the roof to prevent over-exposure of the plants. Within the project, particular emphasis is placed on the production of biomass (algae) in the energy pool. The light captured in the energy pool can be converted into heat and/or used to grow biomass. This will then serve as a renewable energy source, helping to meet the greenhouse’s energy needs.”

The project is divided into three stages:
- Light control (technical)
- System design (technical)
- Transformation of the landscape (socio-economic)

Project coordinator
- TNO, the Netherlands

Project partners 
- KEMA, the Netherlands 
- Ideeuwes, the Netherlands
- Bosvariant, the Netherlands

To visit Kema's site, go here.

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