Plant cultivation of the future

16 square meter clear glass greenhouse on the campus of the Fraunhofer IST.
© Fraunhofer IST
16 square meter clear glass greenhouse on the campus of the Fraunhofer IST.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6, 12 and 15 of the United Nations: Clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, life on land.

Challenge 

Climate change, healthy food and regionalization currently exert a strong influence on the cultivation of plant-based food. The trend is moving away from arable crops with their strong dependence on the weather and, in some cases, long transport distances, and towards indoor farming, urban farming and soil-less crops such as hydroponics or aeroponics, which are usually established in greenhouses or hothouses. Cultivation methods which incorporate extensive technical systems necessitate new solutions in order to ensure the desired high product quality, pest control, and the minimization of resource and capital inputs.

Solution

Film and surface technology can, for many aspects, provide a contribution towards solving these requirements. The demonstrator greenhouse at the Fraunhofer IST offers diverse possibilities for the development of novel systems and for testing under realistic conditions. For two different hydroponic cultivation systems, the acute consumption of the individual components of the nutrient solution is to be analyzed spectroscopically, thereby enabling targeted subsequent dosing. Spraying systems with ozonated water should help to control plant pests such as mildew. Novel coatings should enable self-tinting color-neutral glazing as thermal insulation. 

Added value 

For two different hydroponic cultivation systems, the acute consumption of the individual components of the nutrient solution is to be analyzed spectroscopically, thereby enabling targeted subsequent dosing. Spraying systems with ozonated water should help to control plant pests such as mildew. Novel coatings should enable the production of auto-darkening color-neutral glazing.

Insights into the project

By means of the portable spraying unit, surfaces can be disinfected and pests on plants can be controlled.
© Fraunhofer IST
By means of the portable spraying unit, surfaces can be disinfected and pests on plants can be controlled.
Ozonated water enables, for example, the control of pests on plants.
© Fraunhofer IST
Ozonated water enables, for example, the control of pests on plants.
The Fraunhofer IST research greenhouse.
© Fraunhofer IST, Jan Gäbler
The Fraunhofer IST research greenhouse.

Our focus and expertise

 

Diamond-based systems and CleanTech

Diamond electrodes for water purification and disinfection