Horti Fair Award goes to energy-saving greenhouse climate monitoring system
By Brandi Cowen
At the Horti Fair in The Netherlands, a consortium of AVAG companies (including Sercom and Environmental Monitoring Systems) has won the prestigious ‘Press’ prize for ‘most promising innovation’ for their greenhouse climate monitoring system.
A Horti Fair press release (link here) states:
The winning innovation (a semi-closed greenhouse) controls the air quality in the greenhouse, in addition to the traditional parameters of temperature, humidity and light. This means that a new step forward has been taken in measuring and controlling plant quality as well as energy use.
The key focus is the use of fewer resources. The CO2 dosage can be even better adjusted, the growth potential of the crop increased even more, and heat utilized even more effectively. This combination tool (MACView Greenhouse Gas Analyser and SERCOM climate computer, stand 08.0305) focuses on reducing the consumption of energy and ensuring a high-quality crop.
Chair of the jury of international experts that chose the winner, Geert van Oosterhout, had this to say about the technology:
“Sercom and EMS effectively apply technologies from other sectors to greenhouse horticulture. When the presence of small quantities of harmful gases in the greenhouse air is hindering the optimal growth of a crop, the source of the problem cannot be detected with the naked eye. Although it can be detected in more serious cases, it is obvious that the damage has already been done. Air Monitoring detects harmful gases even in low concentrations and thus makes the invisible visible. And it then provides guidelines for measures to solve the problem. This combination is thus adding a new dimension to greenhouse climate control.”
The jury noted that “suppliers to horticulture are continuing to innovate and invest in the future, despite the unrelenting economic climate.” A total of more than a hundred new products and services are being introduced at the Horti Fair.
On behalf of the organizers, Horti Fair’s Chair of the Board, Ewald van Vliet, presented the winner’s cup to the consortium and a cheque good for € 2,500 in stand space for the next Horti Fair.
The winner was selected from eleven finalists.
“A remarkable number of entries are follow-up developments of the concept of ‘The Closed Greenhouse’ and elaborate on ‘Cultivation New Style,’ so the focus is on saving energy and increasing efficiency, production and quality,” concludes van Oosterhout. “Five of the eleven nominated entries are based on this concept, but the differences among these new products and services are very slight. Even so, they point to the future of technology in horticulture.”
The other members of the jury are Jeroen van Buren (Manager of Greenhouse Horticulture, DLV Plant BV), Heinrich Dressler (Gb Das Magazin für Zierpflanzenbau, Germany), Cor van de Kaay (vegetable grower), Linda Kaluzny-Pinon (Culture Légumière, France), Frank Kempkes (technical researcher at Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture), Leo Marcelis (Professor in Crop Protection in low-energy greenhouses at Wageningen UR) and Steven Vale (The Commercial Greenhouse Grower, Great Britain).
THE OTHER NINE NOMINEES:
Certhon – SuprimAir greenhouse
Certhon has developed the SuprimAir greenhouse, which is a unique greenhouse concept for international professional greenhouse horticulture. The ingenious synthesis of greenhouse, ventilation, cooling and control makes it possible to create an ideal climate all year round. The ideal temperature and relative humidity are combined with low energy consumption and lower pest pressure.
Jury:“Recent technical innovations in various fields have been integrated within theSuprimAir concept. A clear example of closely targeted follow-on development.’’
Climeco Engineering BV – ClimecoScan
Taking measurements with a network of wireless sensors makes it possible to obtain real-time information on the uniformity of the climate in a greenhouse. A network of wireless sensors, access to the data via a server (in the cloud), together with data from the climate computer and presentation by means of a graphic analysis program are combined with a personal approach.
Jury: “A new feature of this service from Climeco is an unprecedented combination of innovative techniques.”
Exotic Plant bvba – Vriesea Spica [P] potplant
A successful newcomer to the multiflower range. This gorgeous plant easily develops five dark pink flowers. Combine this with its elegant, abundant and dark green leaves and you have a much-loved house plant. ‘Spica’ grows to a height of 60 cm and the best results are obtained in pot size 14.
Jury: “An asset to the bromelia range, 90% of which consists of single-flowered varieties.’’
Van der Hoeven – ModulAIR
This greenhouse concept is a tailor-made and economically feasible solution in practically any situation. Always based on the principles of lower energy consumption, higher CO2 concentrations, higher light transmission, lower pesticide use, optimum climate control and higher production yields under sustainable conditions compliant with the requirements of food safety.
Jury: “The option of modular construction increases the economic feasibility of this concept, which enables development that is based more closely on the customer’s requirements.’’
HortiMaX B.V. – HortiMaX CX500
HortiMaX’s awareness that there are specific solutions for every climate and every country is the basis for the HortiMaX CX500 process computer. This computer, which controls climate and irrigation, can be adapted for all types of greenhouses, climatic conditions and the knowledge levels of the users.
Jury: “The modular structure is an excellent example of customer orientation, which makes a solution available for small and large businesses and for many countries, climate zones and growers.’’
Klimrek – RS Mover
Positioning plants more closely together on special racks in the first weeks of cultivation means the grower only has to keep a section of the greenhouse warm. This leads to an annual saving of 10% on energy. In countries outside the Netherlands, for growing under lights and with a crop like cucumbers, the system also offers the opportunity of prolonged production for a large part of the business.
Jury: “A clever application of an existing idea.’’
KUBO Tuinbouwprojecten B.V. – Ultra Clima®V3
Whereas the air conditioning units in the previous Ultra-Clima®greenhouses still had two radial fans, the current air conditioning units only have a single large radial fan. The size of the unit has been drastically reduced as a consequence, with the cooperation of the manufacturer.
Jury:“The main advantages of the Ultra Clima V3 are the additional light that enters at the end wall, a greater cultivation area and the lower investment in comparison with its predecessor.”
Maurice Produkties B.V. – Air & Energy greenhouse with LT heating
The Air & Energy greenhouse means it is currently possible not just to ventilate a greenhouse, but to heat it as well. Until now, higher temperatures could not be blown inside with the hose system. The use of the reheater in the hose makes it possible to uniformly blow a higher temperature inside.
Jury:“An example of follow-on development that increases the efficiency of heating systems by means of LT (Low Temperature) heating. Also offers benefits when used with waste heat and geothermal energy.’’
Peter Dekker Installaties (PDI) – Double Slip-In
The guiding profiles in the Double Slip-In system are ingeniously inserted into and simultaneously mounted to the screen profile and the trellis. This is in contrast to the existing Slip-In system, which requires the profiles to be mounted in the greenhouse before the screen fabric is drawn through them.
Jury: “The decisive reasons for this nomination were the labour-friendly method of installation and the extremely small volume of fabric.’’