China: Smart agricultural technologies make vegetables ‘greener’

“These ‘low-carbon’ cherry tomatoes sell well and taste nice,” said Sun Liming, a resident of Xiaoxinmatou village, Baodi district, north China’s Tianjin municipality. “We have grown vegetables for decades, and never thought that vegetables can be related to ‘low-carbon’ one day. A few years ago, electrical devices were introduced to all the greenhouses in our village, and we thought that’s the most advanced technological products we would ever use to grow vegetables. As it turns out, we were wrong. We have even better ones now,” said Wang Yishun, who is in charge of the smart greenhouses of the company.

The “better ones” mentioned by Wang are actually the equipment and devices installed by the State Grid Tianjin Electric Power Company’s branch in Baodi district for local greenhouses in a bid to save energy and reduce carbon emissions through intelligent transformation.

The smart nitrogen fixation devices installed in the greenhouses can ionize nitrogen and oxygen in air through artificial simulation of the process of nitrogen fixation during natural lightning activities, and dissolve them in water to directly create nitrate nitrogen that crops need. Besides, the soil-based solar energy storage system can effectively increase the earth temperature in the greenhouses, thus enabling efficient production throughout the year.

“For instance, if we grow one more crop of cucumbers and tomatoes every winter, their annual output can be increased by around 20 percent. In addition, the solar energy storage system has cut our costs significantly,” Wang added.

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