This thesis focuses on the potential of flexible greenhouse climate control based on plant physiological processes to reduce energy use in greenhouses and contribute to achieving climate neutrality in the Dutch horticultural sector. The research explores the ability of crops to buffer climate fluctuations and develops models to capture this knowledge. The thesis begins by highlighting the relevance of flexible climate control and proposes the analogy of plants as batteries, storing energy in the form of sugars produced through photosynthesis. It also discusses the role of reproductive processes and the importance of models in explaining crop flexibility. The subsequent chapters delve into the dynamics of carbon (C) storage and remobilization under climate fluctuations, the effects of temperature and light on plant growth, and the limitations of current crop growth models in predicting yield under fluctuating conditions.
The thesis concludes with a discussion on practical implications, areas of improvement, and the gap between theory and implementation. The findings contribute to optimizing crop performance and developing resource-efficient crop production systems.