2021 GreenTech show celebrates horticulture’s thriving tech scene

The winners of this year’s GreenTech Innovation Awards, third from right is event director Mariska Dreschler.

The fourth edition of the AIPH-approved horticultural technology show GreenTech welcomed 4200 attendees from 160 countries. More than 100 leading greenhouse builder horticultural engineering and lighting companies, substrate suppliers, service providers, trade associations and research institutes exhibited at the RAI Amsterdam from 28-30 September 2021.

A top-notch online programme every day reached out to an even wider global audience.

GreenTech director Mariska Dresschler was delighted to welcome the entire community back together again to celebrate horticulture’s thriving tech scene. She said that GreenTech 2021 has put faith back in face-to-face business. She freely admitted that compared to the 470 exhibitors and 12,500 attendees during GreenTech’s last full in-person event in 2019, this year’s recalibrated show, which occupied only one big hall in the immense RAI convention centre, marked a very good, albeit modest start. “While the pandemic isn’t officially over, the horticulture business is most definitely picking up. We won’t rest on our laurels and have already started preparing the show for next year when we GreenTech Amsterdam will be back in full physical format, from Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 June 2022.”

Taking place from 28-30 September 2021, this year’s GreenTech show blended real and digital worlds. The event provided a commercial platform for 120 exhibitors to present the latest in horticultural tech. A global online programme every day by reaching out to an even wider global audience.

Fluence by Osram, 3C Consulting, and urban-gro provided top level insights in medicinal cannabis, while IGS Limited, Agritecture, and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors GmbH  discussed opportunities and challenges in Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) or indoor farming.

AIPH and FCI held a sustainability conference on 30 September, as part of GreenTech. The event saw speakers highlight what the ornamental horticulture industry is doing on its path to sustainability.

On the opening morning of its Live & Online event on 28 September, GreenTech celebrated its annual awards ceremony. A panel of expert judges handed out awards in two categories: Concept and Innovation.

The 2021 GreenTech show occupied RAI’s entire Europa Hall.

Crowned winner in the first category was Corvus drones BV for the best use of Corvus Drones in a greenhouse environment. In the Innovation category Van Iperen International scooped up the coveted award for GreenSwitch Original, the first nitrate fertilizer from organic source.

The judges praised the holistic, interdisciplinary design approach of the winners. Chairwoman Liselotte de Vries from TU Delft AgTech Institute says: “The winners teamed up with other experts, adopting a systematic approach, which is key for future circularity and upcycling solutions to hold commercially and to drive meaningful impact. It’s a strength that they do not look at the greenhouse industry in isolation.”

The judges praised winner Corvus Drones BV for developing is a fully automatic flying drone in horticulture greenhouses for crop monitoring purposes. Corvus drones stand out for their automatic navigation based on visual odometry software as GPS signals are too weak to capture in a greenhouse. Growers can apply the drones to check seed germination, maturing stages of plants and leaf area measurement. Corvus uses a subscription model, and the jury believes this approach is inspiring for other businesses.

The winner of the 2021 GreenTech Innovation Award, Van Iperen International, deserves credit for developing organically derived nitrate fertiliser from animal manure: GreenSwitch Original.

The winner of the 2021 GreenTech Innovation Award, Van Iperen International, deserves credit for developing organically derived nitrate fertiliser from animal manure: GreenSwitch Original. GreenSwitch uses Pure a circular process – Green Agriculture Technology –  to produce a chrystal -clear nitrate fertiliser in the formulation 2-0-7 and is suited for greenhouse growers and those who grow in the field. The GreenTech jury praised the systems-approach that GreenSwitch takes by tying together different actors in the food and energy supply. Plus the judges see a potential for worldwide application.

At AIPH FCI and GreenTech’s Sustainability Conference AIPH Secretary General Tim Briercliffe explained how sustainability is now a high priority, at the Board level, for many businesses in the ornamental horticulture industry.  Not only is it critical for making a better world, but it is a core part of business decision making for many companies. One of the keynote speakers, professor David Bek from Coventry University warned that if we don’t curb emissions, and temperature continues to rise the results for horticulture will be catastrophic.

Across the three days of GreenTech, industry professionals saw examples of how horticultural tech can save money and fight climate change at the same time.

Biota Nutri’s mission, for example, is to develop and use 100 per cent circular methods for the production of organic fertilisers from plant residual streams. Its Biota Nutri Calculator shown at GreenTech helps growers who consider a gradual switch to organic growing. The tool enables them to gradually reduce inorganic fertiliser usage and involves four steps – adding in current cultivation data, refining fertiliser preferences, preparing fertiliser recipes and downloading the personalised recipe. The company offers growers of ornamentals, fruit and fresh produce Bronze, Silver or Gold subscription levels.

Dutch based Van der Ende Group, a leading supplier of water treatment solutions launched Kathari – an ultrafiltration unit to extract pathogens from drain water, including the dreaded ToBRFV virus. The Kathari has its origins in the Poseidon sodium extractor, which was developed in response to the Water Framework Directive and its regulations on the discharge of drain water containing plant protection products. Before this, the build-up of sodium was a major reason for many growers to discharge the drain water. The Poseidon extracts the sodium from drain water, resulting in savings on nutrients and water.

GreenTech put back faith in face-to-face business.

Poseidon consists of multistage filtration, with ultrafiltration as an important stage for removing viruses, bacteria and fungi to prevent fouling in the other filtration stages. The water analyses performed to monitor Poseidon revealed that ultrafiltration is extremely effective in removing viruses, bacteria and fungi. As a result, the market started to ask whether ultrafiltration could be used to extract pathogens from drain water, partly because of the increasingly prevalent ToBRFV virus. The Kathari achieves a Log 4 reduction of viruses and fungi and Log 6 reduction of bacteria by means of ultrafiltration using membrane technology. This physically separates the viruses, bacteria and fungi from the drain water. And because ultrafiltration technology is low-energy, economically beneficial (favourable CapEx) and sustainable, it does this in a cost-effective way (low OpEx).

Finally, Visser Horti System showcased its  ‘plug-and play’, high-tech ViLab tissue culture laboratory housed in a 40ft shipping container. ViLab container offers growers with little or no experience in tissue culture a fully operational micropropagation environment, including electrical and drainage connections. It offers room for cutting plants, preparing media and growing plants using a multi tier growing system and led lighting.

For the longlist of all the entries for the GreenTech Innovation Awards  visit: https://www.greentech.nl/live-and-online/innovative-products/

For the shortlist of nominees visit https://www.greentech.nl/live-and-online/innovation-award/nominees/


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