By using hydroponics, many times less land and water is needed for food production compared to open cultivation. Almost all greenhouse vegetables and fruits in the Netherlands are grown in this way, but it also seems to be a promising contribution to food security in arid areas.
Whereas in the Netherlands greenhouses are mainly used to create a warmer climate for the plant, in arid regions (Figure 2) the crop often needs to be protected from extreme heat and excessive radiation.
To find the right greenhouse design and the optimal greenhouse climate strategy adapted to local climate conditions, simulation models can be used. These models provide insight into the effects of different greenhouse properties on the greenhouse climate and their ultimate effect on yield. This allows the right choices to be made for the design of the greenhouse and subsequently for the optimal management of the greenhouse climate through, for example, the use of shade cloths, fogging and ventilation (Figure 3).