The Italian greenhouse growers of Fri-El expanded their greenhouse hub. In the presence of customers and friends, this week they inaugurated half of their most recent 20 hectare expansion project. With this expansion, the company reaches a total of 31.1 hectares of iron-glass greenhouses. The story doesn't end here: their aim is to grow to 60 hectares by 2026.
Click here for the photo gallery!Alessio Orlandi and Ernst Gostner
Fri-El Green House produces tomatoes that are marketed under their own H2Orto brand. Employing high-tech hydroponic techniques enables them to grow all year round. The company was found in 2015 in Ostellato (Ferrara) by Fri-El Group, one of the leading Italian producers of electricity from renewable sources (wind, biomass and biogas) based in Rome
The two new iron-glass greenhouses Ostellato 3 and Ostellato 4 are part of their ambitious project. 10 hectares are already operative, and another 10 will be in March 2022.
"Fri-El Green House is the first producer that can supply Italian tomatoes from the same location all year round, obtained with production systems that use 70% less surface and 70% less water than traditional crops," explained director Alessio Orlandi. He showed how their greenhouses are partially heated with the residual hot water produced by adjacent biogas plants, thus recovering precious energy. "In addition, they are lit up with LED lights that guarantee low energy consumption and abundant light, avoiding waste."
Other speakers at the event included Stefano Bonaccini, president of Regione Emilia-Romagna, Alessio Mammi, counselor for Agriculture at Regione Emilia-Romagna, and Massimiliano Giansanti, Confagricoltura national president. Also Fri-El president Ernst Gostner was present.
Other greenhouses under construction which will be ready in 2022
"European policies aim at reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 to zero the impact on climate. An essential factor for this is the transition towards a circular economy. Our company already combines renewable energy, reduced CO2 emissions, and low-impact agricultural production, and it also recovers residual matter to reintroduce it to the production cycle. We aim at achieving a zero impact soon," Allessio concluded.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony
H2Orto currently produces TOV, cocktail, and cherry tomatoes. "Our IPM-strategy and our ecosystem is closed-cycle, managed using software that monitors the climate, irrigation, and humidity, eliminating waste and reusing all vital components for plants," Alessio showed. "This way, they can grow high-quality tomatoes available all year round."