GreenTech Q&A with air quality specialist
Crop optimisation needs to include measuring air quality. While measuring and controlling climate and irrigation in greenhouses has been a common practice for many years, measuring air quality is still underexposed. We found that NOx in a greenhouse has a negative influence on the photosynthesis of the plant. Exposure to NOx reduces the biomass conversion, and thereby reduction of the photosynthesis. Ethylene is an ageing hormone. The exposure of the crop to ethylene causes undesirable ageing to flower and / or fruit. New growing methods literally close up the greenhouse, keeping harmful gases inside the greenhouse. SERCOM and EMS work together in this field. SERCOM is a process computer manufacturer and EMS is a gas analyser manufacturer.
Do you feel growers are paying sufficient attention to the quality of the air in greenhouses?
While measuring and controlling climate and irrigation in greenhouses has been a common practice for many years, measuring air quality is still underexposed. Growers notice something is wrong with their crop, climate and irrigation is perfectly under control and then they realise that the gas composition is not in order. Every grower seriously interested in crop optimisation needs to put air quality measurement on their list.
What do you think will be the situation in 10 years time?
When we think about the future of crop optimisation and where we stand 10 years from now, we expect that every greenhouse grower in Western Europe has a gas analysis system installed linked to a climate computer and adjusts accordingly.
From your perspective, what is the greatest challenge growers are facing today?
The biggest challenge for growers today is to fertilise the plant in a correct way without growth inhibition. Plenty of CO2 that contains too much NOx without the gardener realising this, is still being dispensed. There is much to gain on this front. There is also much to explore to dose CO2 at the right time and make the right choice between pure CO2 or CO2 from the boiler or CHP, CO2 dosing of combustion.
Where do you personally seek creative inspiration?
Holding discussions with end-users is most inspiring for developing innovations. For example, when they have a problem with a greenhouse crop and cannot find the cause. I am always amazed at how much you can learn just by talking to each other and together you will find a solution. What we can’t do alone, we can do together!
What was the best advice you have ever been given?
Do as you say and say what you do, is something I have found especially true when working on innovations with other parties. It is the key to successful innovations.