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Antwerp Province, Limburg Province and greenhouse horticulture sector work together on innovations

"We believe in a co-creative approach within the greenhouse horticulture sector"

New technologies are coming to the market. Often these are not ready-for-use. To prevent this, the Antwerp Province (Flanders), the Limburg Province (the Netherlands) and stakeholders from the greenhouse horticulture sector are joining forces. Together they will build new technologies that are more energy-efficient and climate-neutral.

From left to right: Bart van Calenberge (project leader GLITCH), Mr. Caluwé (deputy of the Provincial Executive of Antwerp), Harm Waterborg (Deputy of the Provincial Executive of Limburg), Bart and Kathleen Peeters (tomato growers).

The companies in the sector are sitting on a rollercoaster of innovations. Technology is becoming increasingly important and more and more business tasks are being automated. This is also the case in greenhouse horticulture where today you will find numerous automatons and robots for the automatic feeding of plants, the regulation of greenhouse climate and the sorting and packaging of vegetables. A technological revolution that will never stop. New technologies are constantly being introduced in the market, which greenhouse horticulture companies can get to grips with.

Ready for use
Provincial deputy for Agriculture and Innovation Ludwig Caluwé: "The problem with many new technologies is that they are not ready for use. There are still a lot of adjustments needed before they are fully functional at a company. And that means time and money. That is why from now on we want to follow new technologies during the development. The Interreg project GLITCH is the first project where we - together with stakeholders from two neighboring countries – also get involved in the development of new technologies."

Working together with everyone
"Together with growers, technology companies and research institutes from two neighboring countries we develop a new, suitable technology. It is a fairly new approach within the agricultural and horticultural sector. However, research shows that cooperation with external parties has a positive effect on the chances of success of an innovation. We are starting to work very consciously with this new approach. We believe in success and want to achieve this co-creative approach within the greenhouse horticulture sector. We are very much looking forward to doing this together with our Dutch colleagues. They also have a lot of technological experience. By joining forces we will undoubtedly come up with beautiful innovations, ready to be applied", according to deputy Ludwig Caluwé.

Focusing on energy and climate
These new, ready-to-use innovations should above all lead to more energy-efficient and climate-neutral production in the greenhouse horticulture sector. Dutch deputy for Economics and Knowledge Infrastructure Joost van den Akker: "Achieving the climate targets is a challenge for every company. Within the agricultural and horticultural sector many efforts have already been made. At the same time, we are aware that there are many opportunities. The beauty of the Interreg project GLITCH is that it does not focus on a single technology, but simultaneously develops several technologies. This way the sector will be able to take serious steps in a short period of time."

The GLITCH project will see collaboration regarding these projects:

  • Energy-efficient lighting techniques in tomato, cucumber and lettuce
  • Energy-efficient cultivation systems in strawberry and cucumber
  • Utilization of low-value heat
  • Use of CO2 from flue gases with good air quality in the greenhouse
  • Plasma technology for energy-efficient nitrogen production
  • Energy-balancing day screens
  • Energy-balancing night screens
  • Development of a vapor heat pump for dehumidification

Source: Bluehub

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