Innovation

Project “Sustainable Strawberry Fields Forever”

A consortium of project partners Lamp-Ion B.V., Water Waves B.V., Appsen, and Aquacolor Sensors B.V. have joint forces to reduce the ecological footprint of greenhouses. The project was awarded an EU Vida grant.

The horticulture sector has a significant ecological footprint due to its vast energy and water consumption, and the production of wastewater streams containing plant nutrients and traces of pesticides.

This project aims to demonstrate new and innovative technology to save between 20 to 60% of energy, water, and chemicals in a full-scale strawberry greenhouse. The technology to be demonstrated will prevent crop infection with micro-organisms, crop toxification with sodium ions, and it will remove pesticides from the wastewater stream. Finally, the formation of the wastewater stream will be reduced by at least 60%.

The project objectives are achieved by an “all-in-one concept” that integrates disinfection of recycling water in greenhouses, purification of the wastewater streams from pesticides through advanced oxidation, algae destruction in rainwater storage tanks through ultrasound and steering of the wastewater purge based on a sodium sensor.

The new concept will be demonstrated at end-user APM Aardbeien at Berlikum, The Netherlands. Based on energy and mass balances, it is expected that the new concept is both technically and economically feasible and that it provides an environmentally friendly solution for optimizing the water cycle in greenhouses and saving natural resources at the same time.

The demonstration phase will provide valuable data making it possible to draft business cases in other horticulture market segments such as the growing of tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers.

The societal impact of the new technology lies in the reduction of energy and water use during food production and preventing pesticides from ending up in our surface water and drinking water.

As long as EU policy and legislation does not require to improve the ecological footprint of the horticulture sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not have a business case yet for developing and implementing their innovations. The Vida program provides the financial means and required publicity, making it possible for SMEs to co-create innovations that are input for and anticipate new environmental legislation.

This project was awarded by the VIDA project and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no 777795.
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Project “Innovative removal of medicine traces and pesticides from effluent of municipal waste water treatment plants”

A lot of waste water contains micropollutants such as medicine traces and pesticides. These compounds finally end up in municipal waste water treatment plants, where they are only partly removed during the purification process. As a results, these micropollutants end up in our surface water and finally also in our environment and drinking water, which is ecologically undesired. For this reason there is a need for sustainable innovative technology that makes it possible to selectively remove micropollutants from waste water at limited energy and investment cost. This project comprises the development of a completely new technology for an additional purification step in municipal waste water treatment plants to remove any remaining traces of micropollutants from the effluent.

The technology consists of a unique filtration and advanced oxidation process based on UV-C irradiation, ultrasound, iron electrolysis and inline measurement of water quality. The latter is important in order to dose the optimum amounts of UV-C irradiation and chemicals to the purification process at a strongly fluctuating flow and composition of the effluent stream of municipal waste water treatment plants.

This development is possible thanks to VIA 2018 Plus and an intensive cooperation and the unique expertise of the companies Water Waves, Lamp-Ion and Brightwork. The aimed project result is a validated business case for the application of the new technology at municipal waste water treatment plants of different capacities.