HORTIMED - Towards circular horticulture: closing the loop on Mediterranean greenhouses

About Us

HortiMED is driven by the requirements of the Mediterranean horticultural communities, the increased competition and urgent need for technological update, climate-related constrains and the ever-growing food demand. HortiMED's overall objective is to provide the Mediterranean horticultural community with innovative tools to enable resource efficient year round greenhouse cultivation by harnessing the potential of both simple and advanced technologies for smart nutrient, irrigation & climate control, and integrated pest management taking into account their feasibility and cost-effectiveness at individual greenhouse level. HortiMED’s approach pivots around two main axes: (1) Enabling smart greenhouse management through a Decision Support System (DSS) that integrates sensors, smart algorithms, efficient greenhouse control procedures and applies artificial intelligence techniques for enhanced adaptive greenhouse management. (2) Increasing circularity of horticulture by using biological agro-ecological technologies to close the loop in Mediterranean greenhouses through aquaponics.

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Period of Implementations

Mar 1, 2020 - Mar 1, 2024

Total Budget

EUR 1.556.500,00

OUR IMPACT

Goals

(1) To develop and test a user-friendly and flexible Decision Support System (DSS) allowing smart nutrient, irrigation & climate control, and integrated pest management in greenhouses through (i) Expert advisory services to help farmers in intensive knowledge tasks where climatic, crop and nutrient variables decisively influence crop growth and productivity (precise water & fertilisers’ needs, efficient climate control…) and (ii) efficient and cost-effective partial or full automation of greenhouses (fertigation, ventilation, heating, etc.). (2) To demonstrate the potential of biological agro-ecological technologies to close the loop in Mediterranean greenhouses by validating aquaponics systems based on the combination of IMTA and hydroponics to deliver high quality Mediterranean horticultural and fish products with improved WUE and NUE. (3) To provide farmers with tools for environmentally friendly integrated pest management in horticultural greenhouses by testing bio-based pest management tactics for effective pest control in horticultural greenhouses. (4) To validate HortiMED technologies in low, medium and high technology greenhouses from Egypt, Algeria and Spain and conduct a socioeconomic and environmental analysis of the technologies through Life Cycle Assessment and Cost-Benefit analyses. (5) To achieve well-targeted communication and effective transfer of the project results to stakeholders to successfully embed the HortiMED results into local horticultural community systems.  

Objectives

Overall objective: To provide the Mediterranean horticultural community with innovative tools to enable resource efficient year round greenhouse cultivation by harnessing the potential of both simple and advanced technologies for smart nutrient, irrigation & climate control, and integrated pest management taking into account their feasibility and cost-effectiveness at individual greenhouse level.

Impact Pathway

INNOVATIONS DEVELOPED ENABLING SUSTAINABLE AND EFFICIENT AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SYSTEMS Automatic control system for the management of aquaponics and hydroponics AI-based software platform for smart monitoring of greenhouses IMTA aquaponics for water and nutrient efficient fish and crop production Hybrid modelling for smart greenhouse control INCREASED COMPETITIVENESS OF MEDITERRANEAN FARMERS Reduction of production costs by 5% thanks to improved WUE, NUE and EUE 200 agricultural stakeholders trained in resource efficient practices to integrate Resource Efficiency & Circular Economy principles into their businesses IMPROVED RESOURCE EFFICIENCY AND INCREASED CIRCULARITY Water Use Efficiency-WUE (m3/m2/kg) improved by 15% Nutrient Use Efficiency-NUE (kg of fertilizer/m2/kg) improved by 10% Energy Use Efficiency-EUE (Kwh/m2/kg) improved by 10% Reduction of chemical pesticides use by 5% Feed Conversion Ratio improved by 10% in IMTA system Net aquatic species biomass production in IMTA system increased by 15% REDUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS Reduced pollution from nitrate and phosphorus leaching thanks to precise fertiliser applications Minimized greenhouse gas emissions thanks to optimized fertiliser applications and minimised energy use Reduction of chemical pesticides residues in food, soil & water

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