Big investments will be done by greenhouse entrepreneurs the coming period, because the need to remove at least 95% of the plant protection products from their waste water before discharge. This research projects aims to develop a method that requires minimal maintenance and low operational expenditures.
Currently present technologies are not really well prepared, especially when the discharge water is collected via a sewer system. Therefore, this project develops a purification process new to greenhouse horticulture to remove plant protection products, based on two processes: biological purification and adsorption. The technology is already known in drinking water production for decennia for the removal of micropollutants, including plant protection products, from surface water, to produce high quality drinking water. The project investigates the technical feasibility (proof of concept) to specifically remove plant protection products from greenhouse discharge water, based on biological and/or adsorptive processes.
The project creates unique knowledge on adsorption and breakdown processes for plant protection products in various practical situations, for example on bacterial colonies present and ideal growing conditions, biological stability of the bacterial community on longer term and how fluctuating environmental conditions influences these processes. The project focuses on the investigation of the applicability of physical/chemical and biological processes from the water technology industry in greenhouse horticulture. Next to direct economical and safety advantages, it also creates a more sustainable image for the sector.