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3 January 2018

Smart adaptive solutions to optimize Chinese solar greenhouses

The passive Chinese solar greenhouse relies on solar radiation for its heating and it provides a minimally controlled growing environment. With one million hectares, this typical greenhouse is widely applied in China, which gives all reason for serious research on improvements for this low-tech greenhouse system.

In order to see how existing knowledge and technologies can be adapted to local situations and challenges, Ridder-HortiMaX participates in the Dutch research project. One of the technologies provided is a HortiMaX FertiMiX-Go! irrigation unit. This affordable irrigation unit is very interesting for use in a solar greenhouse, as the capacity and simplicity of the system is well suited to the needs and knowledge level of Chinese horticulture. The FertiMiX-Go! is equipped with the versatile HortiMaX-Go! entry-level control computer with intuitive touchscreen operation.

Ridder Polydrive
As well as this, the Chinese solar greenhouse makes use of Ridder Polydrive drive motors to control the ventilation and screening systems. The lightweight Ridder Polydrive was specially developed for use in plastic greenhouses. The drive system is easy to install, can withstand harsh weather conditions and is an affordable solution for low-tech greenhouse systems such as the Chinese solar greenhouse.

Reference crop
Last year the first crops have been cultivated in the Chinese solar greenhouse. As part of the research project, a reference crop was also cultivated in a solar greenhouse in Shougang, a large city in the Chinese horticultural region of Shandong. The crops at both locations are monitored by employees of Delphy, a Dutch horticultural extension and consultancy company. Delphy has its main office in Bleiswijk and other offices around the world, including China.

The weekly provided readings of greenhouse climate, crop development and production are analysed by Wageningen University & Research in order to draw conclusions from the differences observed.

First results
Since the start of the research project it came clear that for China more attention to crop planning will increase production, just as the choice for white groundcover instead of black groundcover.

It are just the first findings of this project that has been initiated by Partners for International Business, a partnership program between Wageningen UR and a group of Dutch horticultural technology suppliers. The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Economic affairs and the Metropole region Rotterdam-Den Haag.

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