The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture develops new sustainable concepts for crop production as well as innovative technologies for greenhouse construction, climate control, energysaving and efficient energy conversion.
Greenhouse climate and energy consumption are inexorably interconnected. The slightest changes in greenhouse climate will affect energy consumption and vice versa. Moreover, all climate changes, whether related to lighting, temperature or humidity, will impact crop growth, yield and quality of the product.
Our advanced computer models calculate new cropping concepts and study the effects of changes in climate and energy consumption. We also study innovations in climate and energy control in practice, working in close cooperation with growers and the supply industry.
Less frequent opening of greenhouse windows may result in the accumulation of harmful components such as ethene (C2H4) and NOx (NO and NO2) in the greenhouse. This may be the case when CO2 is applied via flue gases from a WKK (combined heat-power installation).
But there a more potential sources of these harmful gases, such as pulsfog systems, leaf blowers, trucks in loading bays, or chimney outlets too close to the windows. Too high concentrations of these components may - especially in winter - cause serious crop growth inhibition.
There still are many questions around greenhouse air quality. The effect thresholds for the various crops, e.g., are not yet known, or in other words, at which concentration of the various components does damage occur? The sensitivity of the crops in the various development stages and whether there is a difference in sensitivity under continuous exposure or at peak concentrations is also unknown. And the effect of the greenhouse climate (temperature and relative humidity) on crop sensitivity is still unclear.
The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture is therefore, together with commercial partners, investigating the various questions around greenhouse air quality. The researchers of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture are focussing on the questions around crop sensitivity. Partners are dealing with questions around improvement of the technique, such as optimisation of the measuring methods, the more accurate supply of CO2, and the prevention of harmful components.