Wageningen University started water-saving tests in greenhouse research centre in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia
Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture is involved in the Middle East in setting up two research greenhouse centers to test and demonstrate water-saving technology under local conditions.
In the research greenhouse centre in Abu Dhabi the first cucumbers and tomatoes are growing now on soilless culture. The centre in Saudi Arabia will start its first vegetable production next month.
An important topic in research in the water scare Middle East concentrates on recirculation of drain water.
Less evaporative cooling
Water is not only used for the plants though, a larger part is used for cooling, evaporative cooling. Due to the relatively low humidity this form of cooling works well but the water consumption is high.
The cooling demand in these greenhouses can be reduced by decreasing the solar radiation entering, but since the photosynthetic process also relates to solar radiation it will reduce the production as well.
The application of special covering materials with a spectral property which reflect part of the solar radiation not used for the photosynthesis process can be considered.
Still cooling will be needed so the only alternative being mechanical cooling or air conditioning is considered. Obviously this type of cooling consumes more energy, but it also gives way to a higher production of a better quality.
Feasibility under local conditions
The technical and economic feasibility of these innovations as they are applied in the Middle East is the main focus at these centres. But also the practical application is taken into consideration specially in the area of needed expertise.
This news item was originally published on the website of Wageningen UR greenhouse horticulture.
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● Expertise: Water and food
Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture
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