Circular horticulture Innovator Food for thought
Tuesday, 28 June 2022
BASF Nunhems

Greenhouse of the future

Collaboration among chain partners essential to feed a growing world population in a sustainable way

Greenhouse technology is developing rapidly in terms of energy and sustainability: processes like automatization and robotization play a leading role in current developments. What exactly are we working towards? Which opportunities do we see? BASF and partners shared their knowledge on this topic during the Greentech panel discussion.

We’re currently at the start of a whole new phase of development and technology. COVID showed us that our present growth and distribution trends aren’t sustainable. Using techniques we already have access to, we can turn this around and make the process of producing vegetables more efficient and affordable. If you want to grow in greenhouses and secure a good market position in the next eight to ten years, you’ll have to adopt these new technologies.

Connecting nature to technology

What are we working toward? The future will be focused on data-driven growth: plants that tell you what they want and need through data. But how can we make greenhouses data-driven? A lot still needs to be done, like creating centers that measure everything that happens in the greenhouse, from temperature to humidity. Robotics will also play a key role in analyzing plant statuses.

Long story short: we’re moving toward intelligent algorithms. These algorithms need to fit with each kind of greenhouse, regardless of its size or climate. Using artificial intelligence, customer data, and plant data, we can analyze what each greenhouse needs and change the circumstances around our plants.

Predictive growing

One of the major shifts currently happening is the one from responsive growing to predictive growing. Using algorithms, you can figure out what to do in your greenhouse before there are any active signs that you need to act. This way, you can create an excellent environment for your plants and get the most out of your products. For example, a test in Mexico showed that greenhouses using data-driven growing gained 15% more net profit and were 12% more productive; additionally, their energy usage dropped over 30%. These are very promising results! Plus, this shift can also be interesting for investors because the more you can predict, the more secure your business is.

Collaboration to work toward these greenhouses of the future is key. Together we can make this integrated system work by combining nature experts, high tech, and green tech – all with the goal to grow more sustainable and healthy food in the future.