Advanced systems & Robotics
The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is developing new complete concepts and integrated designs of production systems with, e.g., mobile cultivation systems, revolutionary greenhouse designs or systems for the early detection of plant diseases. We are also developing parts of production and selection systems, such as innovative sensors, vision systems and robots.
Innovations in cultivation and production systems, from complete concepts to small improvements, can save labour, can increase profitability and sustainability, and support growers in the management of their holding.
When developing new concepts we are not restricting ourselves to the individual holding because the clustering of holdings, combinations with other functions, and links with - and incorporation into - the (urban) environment may result in sustainable innovations.
Computer vision and robotics
Computer vision and industrial production techniques are offering the greenhouse horticulture sector new opportunities for maximum performance with minimal input of labour, in quality and quantity. With the use of modern computer vision systems it is possible to control robots, to sort, and to assess the quality of products and to detect pests and diseases.
Research in computer vision and robotics at The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is focused on developing new robotic and mechatronic solutions. Moreover we are supporting optimisation of existing concepts. Together with industry and international partners, we are working on agrorobots for harvesting, handling and packaging of horticultural products. Computer vision systems and intelligent image analysis algorithms often play a key role here. With our computer models we calculate the work processes in a greenhouse and supply quantitative information to improve these processes.
Even features not perceivable for the human eye can be made visible with modern technologies. Thus, the photosynthesis process of plants can be put on view, the ripeness of fruit can be determined, stress in plants can be monitored and pests can be detected in a non-destructive way. These techniques also help breeders to phenotype their plants automatically and objectively.
Sensors and sensor networks
“Knowing needs measuring” but knowing what you measure is less simple than it seems. Correct interpretation of measured data is crucial in decision-making. The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture has available a wide range of sensors, measuring methods and growth models that have been tested in practice. This enables conversion of measurements into useful information.
Scaling up and efficient energy use are two of the motives for automatic control of production factors such as climate, water application and fertilisation in greenhouse horticulture. Processes can be regulated and controlled on the basis of what you know and what you measure. Measurement of the control actions provides knowledge of the processes that are regulated in the greenhouse.
Reliable measuring techniques, sensors and sensor networks are - together with complicated regulation and control rules - important links in the control chain.
The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is cooperating with suppliers of climate computers and with advisory services to provide growers with the latest measuring instruments, control software and on-line advisory systems.
Intergrated cultivatioin systems
The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is working on totally new greenhouse concepts such as closed and semi-closed greenhouses, energy-supplying greenhouses, and floating greenhouses. Starting point is a development together with partners; greenhouse builders as well as final users.
Together with our partners we are using all available possibilities and creativity for the development of attractive new concepts. In doing so we are of course always taking into account current and expected legislation and regulations, including the possibilities for acquiring subsidies.
A good greenhouse design should meet the requirements of crop, climate of the location, infrastructure of the holding, and the applicable legislation and regulations. The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is – together with industrial partners – developing new integrated greenhouse concepts. We are advising our clients about the development of a complete greenhouse design or parts thereof, such as construction, installation and cover material on the basis of cultivation requirements.
The theme ‘Greenhouse Design’ covers our work on subjects such as: light in the greenhouse, (high-performance) energy-supplying greenhouses, innovative greenhouse cover materials, strength, and security.
Integrated greenhouse systems
The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is working on totally new greenhouse concepts such as closed and semi-closed greenhouses, energy-supplying greenhouses, and floating greenhouses. Starting point is a development together with partners; with greenhouse builders as well as end users.
Together with our partners we are utilising the available opportunities and creativity for the development of attractive new concepts. And we are of course continually keeping an eye on current and future legislation and regulations, including the possibilities for acquiring subsidies.
A good greenhouse design must meet the requirements of the crop, the climate of the location, the infrastructure of the holding, and the applicable legislation and regulations. Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture is - together with industrial partners - developing new integrated greenhouse designs. We are advising our clients about the development a complete greenhouse design or its components, such as construction, installations and cover material against the background of the cultivation requirements.
Within the theme Greenhouse Design, the business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is working on subjects such as: Light in the greenhouse, (high-grade) energy-supplying greenhouses, innovative greenhouse cover materials, strength and safety.
Entrepeneurship and innovation
Entrepreneurs in greenhouse horticulture are always looking for applicable innovations. The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is not only working on the development of innovations, we are also making sure that these innovations are getting known and we are informing entrepreneurs about the perspectives of the innovation and how these can best be applied. In many projects we are cooperating with LEI.
Circular Greenhouse Horticulture
Greenhouse Horticulture is a major player in the efficient and safe production of food and flowers. The system is highly water efficient, but the energy costs are high and the systems are linear, not circular. Circular Horticulture is characterized by Efficient production, with clean incoming and outgoing flows and is connected with other production systems. Our research is aimed at the redesign of cultivation strategies, including new business models, fit for the circular economy.