Research & Initiatives

GREENHOUSE STRUCTURES AND HYDROPONIC CULTIVATION SYSTEMS

This interdisciplinary research field focuses on the development of novel systems in greenhouses and controlled growth chambers exploiting Renewable Energy Sources (RES). The research is expanding from fundamental activities to real scale applications.

The use of RES aims at energy saving and zero consumption of fossil fuels and includes systems that use:

  • Solar Energy (passive solar collectors, hybrid solar energy saving systems, photovoltaics, nano-photovoltaics)

  • Geothermal Energy (shallow geothermal systems, geothermal heat pumps)

  • Biomass energy (biogas from livestock waste or plant residues)

Protected cultivation deals with innovative crop systems that optimize production by rational use of water and fertilizers and enrichment of the air with CO2, such as:

  • Hydroponic crops on substrates (fruit vegetables, e.g. tomato, pepper, cucumber)

  • Hydroponic crops in floating system – floating hydroponics (leafy vegetables, e.g. lettuce, rocket)

  • Hydroponic crops on benches (microgreens, sprouts and edible flowers, e.g. water cress, nasturtium, shiso)

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CONTROLLED GROWTH ROOMS AND RESOURCES USE EFFICIENCY

 This research field focuses on controlled growth chambers with efficient use of resources (energy, water, fertilizers, land and artificial light)

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INDICATORS IN AGRICULTURE

This research field includes environmental impact studies and targets to assess the environmental footprint of crops cultivated on the field or under cover, integrating applications of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) to grow agricultural products that are environmentally friendly and have high added value

Indicators that are specified include:

  • Carbon Footprint (CF)

  • Cumulative Energy Demand (CED)

  • Water Footprint (WF)

  • Water Use Efficiency (WUE)

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