For many years, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Hoogendoorn Growth Management have closely collaborated to shape the future of the horticulture sector. This partnership has led to the development and implementation of advanced technologies that driving the sector to innovate. A milestone in this longstanding collaboration is the introduction of the IIVO computer, enabling WUR to manage their greenhouse compartments with the utmost precision for various research purposes.
The role of WUR
Wageningen University & Research is globally renowned for its leading research in agriculture, food, and the environment. WUR is dedicated to developing innovative solutions that enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and productivity of the agricultural sector. This includes research into various aspects of horticulture, such as crop growth, climate control, and resource management.
IIVO: The New Generation Computer
An essential aspect of the collaboration between WUR and Hoogendoorn Growth Management is the implementation of advanced computer systems in the greenhouse environment. The IIVO computer, the latest addition to the series of systems used by WUR, enables researchers to manage their greenhouse compartments with unprecedented precision. This is crucial for conducting various research projects, where precise control over factors like temperature, light, and humidity is essential.
Innovation at Wageningen University's Unifarm Greenhouses
While the collaboration between WUR and Hoogendoorn Growth Management shapes the future of horticulture at a systemic level, there are tangible examples of this partnership that demonstrate how these advanced technologies are applied in practice. One such example can be found in the Unifarm greenhouses of WUR.
In an expansive area of 15,000 square meters with 150 compartments, innovation and sustainability are put into practice. Unifarm serves as a center for the cultivation of genetically modified plants and conducting critical quarantine research. What sets Unifarm apart are the innovative under-pressure and over-pressure systems, strategically designed to contain diseases within the compartments and prevent them from infiltrating from the outside.
These advanced systems, powered by Hoogendoorn technology, have been operational since 1993 and have evolved into the advanced IIVO system. This is a clear example of how close collaboration leads to technological advancement.
Precisely monitoring and controlling the climate in the various compartments posed a challenge. To address this complexity, the university chose to collaborate with Hoogendoorn, allowing them to maintain optimal conditions for plant growth and top-tier research.
Furthermore, Unifarm makes significant investments in energy transition innovations. They have implemented groundbreaking techniques such as underground cold and heat storage, a heat and cold storage buffer above the ground and heat recovery from cooling machine condensers. This harvested heat is utilized sustainably, either returned to ground source wells or stored in heat and cold storage tanks for later use in regulating temperatures within the greenhouse complexes.
Their commitment to energy efficiency is further illustrated by the use of Active Air to control air handling units for a fully enclosed greenhouse. This not only helps maintain the required over- and under-pressure in compartments but also efficiently regulates humidity by utilizing outside air, which is preferred for its energy efficiency. Data collected by numerous sensors measuring pressure, energy and sun screens, assimilation LED lighting and valve positions is accurately stored, providing researchers and students with access to crucial climate data for future reference.
The joint pursuit of innovation and sustainability in horticulture is something both parties take pride in. Wageningen University's Unifarm greenhouse stands as a beacon of sustainable research and technological innovation, embodying a vision for a greener, more efficient future in agriculture and plant science. The collaboration between WUR and Hoogendoorn Growth Management continues to drive the development of the horticulture sector, and their combined efforts are expected to have a lasting positive impact on its future."