Greenland, a country located in the far north of our globe, is not known for its conventional methods of farming. With temperatures ranging from 10 oC to -40 oC, winds up to 250 km/h and ice masses that cover around 77% of the country’s surface, it is difficult for farmers to use their land for crop cultivation using the traditional methods of farming and agriculture. The only way to eradicate growth barriers like harsh environments is to use greenhouses, however their high energy and water consumption costs empower local companies, growers and researchers to find new and efficient solutions on the market.
A relatively young company, Green Greenland, pioneered the search and is now ready to grow lettuce in the arctic country. Green Greenland were about to seal the deal with an installer when a Spanish company jumped into the picture. The founders of the Greenland based company briskly flew to Pontevedra, Spain and returned home with a signed contract from H2hydroponics.
Rafa Pereira, the owner of H2hydroponics, became more acquainted with the technique on a visit to facility using the method in Costa Rica, while on sabbatical. Hydroponics replaces the use of soil with nutrient solutions and allows the recycling of water and fertilisers in a cyclic system. The method has been known to produce water saving between 70%-90% and you increase your productivity. "For every litre of water, soil yields 7 grams of tomato; with hydroponics, you yield 35 grams," states Pereira. The level of control over your yields is very high with hydroponics as it allows you to apply the exact proportion of nutrients.
Based out of Galicia, Pereira, an entrepreneur created his own company to help grow this type of farming system. In 2014, Pereira met his future partners, Salvador Ruiz who was Mexican, working for a Korean company, that had set up a greenhouse in Saudi Arabia. Pereira wanted to provide “real value” to the industry and convinced Ruiz to start a new business called H2hydroponics, the company that you see changing the world today.
H2hydropnoics created their flagship produced called the H2hibrid system "the most effective farming and irrigation system on the market. We have hybridised the two most developed and economically viable hydroponics systems on the market, eliminating their drawbacks and making the most of their advantages," explains Pereira. The nutrient solution is transported to the plants through NFT tubes to allow maximum absorption and flow.
Hydroponics is an effective system, but with a couple of flaws that need to be considered in order to remain at optimal level. The ducts that carry the solution are not resistant to heat, so when temperatures rise, oxygenation of the mixture can occur which can lead to a decline in crop health and death. High energy levels are needed to get the water flowing, increasing operational costs. This is in addition to a fungus that can cause rot on the neck of the plant, “it’s weakest point”, due to the constant moisture in that area because of the floating raft construction.
Nevertheless, the H2hibrid system solves these problems with an easy, single solution. It optimises the power consumption and helps obtain better quality plants in less time by boasting a waterbed that is only four centimetres deep. Total water volume is decreased by 80% allowing for better environmental control and less resource consumption.
Air chambers are used dry out the areas where plants are inserted into the water, this reduces the moisture in the neck of the plant, ergo eradicating the possibilities for rotting and plant decay. Keeping all plants alive is step one, but step two is allowing them to receive an equal amount of nutrients in a tray system, where plants all feed of the same solution. The H2hibrid trays are designed to generate currents that allow equal nutritional distribution between all plants within a specific area allowing for concurrent growth.
"We are not technologists, but producers who rely on technology to offer solutions," affirms Pereira. All operations are automatically executed allowing operational ease and swift data collection.
H2hydroponics has a range of customers that build of their total market; producers, greenhouse installers and big companies. In the last segment, H2hydroponics has been chosen along with 14 other start-ups from all over the world to participate in Terra Accelerator; a program started by RocketSpace and Rabobank. Through this program H2hydroponics is now working for a large Mexican food group to implement new hydroponic solutions and numerous resource and development projects; they are also about to close a contract with a big Saudi Arabian food producer.
We can’t wait to see what H2hydroponics creates in cooperation with Green Greenland, as we follow their quest to completely redesign the future of farming for Greenland. With the innovative and effective growth methods used by H2hydroponics, Green Greenland will hopefully one day be able to completely avoid traditional farming become a hub for global greenhouse growth in their vast, spacious country.
If you are interested in knowing more about H2Hydroponics, you can check out their website or get to know them even better at GreenTech 2018. H2Hydroponics will be exhibiting at the next edition of GreenTech, make sure you don’t miss them.
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