"If you work in a targeted manner, you can already learn a lot with 10 to 20 sensors"

The project 'Monitoring and supervision of energy innovations' aims at analyzing the application of new techniques and cultivation methods in several companies, as part of the Kas als Energiebron (Greenhouse as Energy Source) program.

Innovations usually necessitate years of research before they can actually put into practice. This is a crucial phase as it shows if these can be utilized both in large and small greenhouses.

Measuring is knowing
New developments can be achieved through practice, thus relating it to effects that can only be seen in large departments, such as temperature differences with screening and screen gaps, the use of multiple heating or airing groups, active dehumidification, etc.

In case of large greenhouses, it may make more sense dividing the airing near the façades from the middle groups, so that it can accommodate the air movement and thus the temperature differences. Because of this, it is important to know what the processes are, measuring is therefore necessary.

According to Arie de Gelder of Wageningen University & Research, "In these situations, it makes sense to measure though an extensive network of temperature and humidity sensors, and to analyze what the best application is and what you, as a grower, should take into account. Growers do not want to deal with these analyses. That is the researchers' and experts' job."

Sensors must be placed in a controlled manner. "You can completely fill the greenhouse with sensors, which means that you will need up to 50 units per hectare. If you work in a targeted manner, you can already learn a lot with 10 to 20 sensors", De Gelder says.

Long term advantages
As the measurements and analyses are complete, growers can check whether the situation is satisfying or if any improvement is possible. "Once you know how to do it, it is not necessary to keep doing analyses. You can apply the acquired knowledge thus achieving the desired improvement or product quality".

Experts and researchers have to deal with a very delicate matter. How can you make knowledge of a specific situation applicable in a more general way? That perhaps might be the most difficult action as every company has its own specific conditions. However, results showed that air movements in a greenhouse, which are necessary for energy transport, behave according to physical laws and yet have a high degree of unpredictability.

Thus, the questions one might ask would be: is it useful for my company to take a good look at climate equality? Can improvements be made? Especially after investments in a new technique or cultivation method, it makes sense to pay attention to climate equality. In this way, positive effects can be experienced in the long-term.

Source: Kas als Energiebron

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