Certhon is building its own research facility next to its office in Poeldijk: the Certhon Innovation Centre. The Dutch greenhouse designer and builder has been conducting pioneering research on optimising the technology of growing without daylight for the past two years. By the end of 2017, the facility will contain eight growth cells, where continuous research to develop the next generation cultivation system will be carried out.
Certhon started building its Innovation Centre last month. It will be used to further develop Certhon’s PlantyFood cultivation system, which involves growing vegetables, fruits and flowers without daylight. Demand for safe and healthy food, which is sustainable and locally produced, is increasing worldwide.
The greenhouse designer and builder is expecting the demand for indoor cultivation solutions to grow rapidly. However, cultivation in a growth cell requires different methods than growing in a traditional greenhouse. The biggest change, compared to traditional growing methods, is that cultivation methods are not determined by the outside climate; instead, state-of-the-art technology is used to create an indoor climate. Research will be conducted in an area of 240 m2, which will be used to establish best practice for large-scale daylight-free cultivation.
Certhon sees great potential in the daylight-free cultivation of tomato, pepper, soft fruit, lettuce, herbs and other crops. These crops will be tested in different climates, with different humidity and lighting programs. Tests will also be conducted with lighting, sensors, and hardware and software. “We are not a research Institute”, says John van der Sande, Head of R&D at Certhon. “We can use the knowledge we acquire in our own research institute to help our clients maximise results in the first couple of years. As well as tools to create an ideal environment, we also offer specific agronomical expertise.”