AZMUD-improvement of green houses performance

The project consortium is made up of 8 partners from Spain, France, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.
The aim of the project is to increase the yield of greenhouses in the Mediterranean region by improving their performance and reducing the cost.

Ø  Root heating based on the Joule effect. The concept will be based on H2020-JOSPEL project whereby means of joule effect an electric conductive plastic can convert electricity on heat. To do so a plastic profile of conductive plastic material will be extruded in a simple profile of lengths of 80 cm that will be the base and support of the plant’s roots at the bottom of each hydroponic channel. Employed materials will be recycled HDPE and graphite in order to be more price competitive, these profiles will be connected to PV modules. Based on H2020-JOSPEL experience, voltages of 12 V and intensities of 2A gave temperatures of 35ºC, as the heating profile will be underneath the roots, the heat would be transferred by convection and conduction allowing even lower heating temperatures, AZMUD project estimates to reach heating temperatures <22ºC, in order to keep the roots at optimum state under cold nights.

Ø  Photovoltaic (PV) modules need to have a light and slightly flexible structure to be installed on light supporting structures of the green houses and a semi-transparent aspect. In such PV modules, front sheet will use a 50 µm thin and highly transparent polymer while the back sheet will be made of a 250 µm thin structural polymer. Transmission ratio, i.e. distance between PV cells, will be adapted depending on site requirement. To have a low-cost system, standard 60 cells (1.6 m² & 300 Wp) PV modules will be used. In Spain, Jordan or Egypt, PV will produce around 1.3kWh/ m²/day with a cost of 0.6 €/Wp. A 12 m2 modules will be built for each demo site and 15 kWh effective storage (= 20 kWh battery) would be necessary to supply the energy during the night.

Ø  Application of magnetic water and/or seeds on crops by multiple intensities of magnetic fields in combination with other agronomic factors (such as fertilizer/pesticide rate and added methods, irrigation system, etc). Design and build low cost magnetic units adapted to the greenhouse environments with the aims to carry out experiments in greenhouses of Egypt & Jordan. Based on the data obtained will optimize the different magnetic treatments to maximize germination, plant growth, yield and quality and water & pesticides saved and finally to reduce the magnetic device cost for further commercialization. NRC partner has a 5 years collaboration agreement with two companies (Magnetic Tech, Delta Water) as a suppliers develop technologies to the farmers.

Ø  Natural pesticides and their control release. Formulation of high-performance natural pesticides based on botanic extracts suitable to protect tomato, lettuce and pepper crops. To reduce their use & increase their effectivity during large periods, through the encapsulation of pests in water soluble and biodegradable polymers. Thickness of the encapsulation layer and type of polymer (viscosity, hydrophobicity) will be used as the main variables to customize pesticide release speed.

Ø  Biodegradable agriculture film that fulfil the standard EN 17033:2018. Based on the capacities of the reactive extrusion, several new functionalization on commercial bioplastics (PLA, PBS, PBAT, PHA, ,,,) will be done in a twin screw extruder to produce transparent agriculture films that fulfil the biodegradation rate of EN 17033:2018 standard, but having a life-span of >3 months in greenhouse conditions of Jordan, Egypt and Spain.

Ø  Soilless systems in Jordan offer a solution to the critical water stress that the country is witnessing. The operation of soilless systems requires energy for pumping, heating, and water cycling. The low energy drip irrigation system will significantly cut energy requirements and will enable a better integration of solar energy systems into soilless systems. Coupled with the proposed heating system and the other technologies that will be implemented, AZMUD will transform soilless systems into an efficient low-energy and high-production environments.

Ø  ICT tools for Agriculture. Several wireless sensors (temperature, humidity, pathogens,  ..) will collect the data from the greenhouse through a gateway, creating both the home screen and the cloud technology. This information will lead to full control the climate in the greenhouse. The number and position of each sensor will be selected in function of the greenhouse type and orientation. This information will be used to perform training courses for farmers. This will also suitable for processing companies can manufacture products that fulfil better the farmer’s needs.