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Smart Controlled Environment Agriculture Systems

Final Report Summary - SMART-CEA (Smart Controlled Environment Agriculture Systems)

Half of the European Union's land is farmed. This fact alone highlights the importance of farming for the EU's economy, employment, energy use and environment. According to Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the next 20 years world food production must increase by 50%, while 80% of that increase must come from intensification. In recent years several factors lead to an increase of agriculture production under controlled environments. Among these factors one can mention the climate change with unpredictably outside weather conditions, water shortage especially in the south part of Europe, energy crisis, environmental pollution and food problems like mad cow’s disease and avian influenza. Concerning agricultural production under controlled environments (CAE), greenhouse cultivations and livestock buildings constitute the most productive form of primary agricultural production. In controlled environment agricultural production (greenhouse & livestock), growth practices (both from crops and animals), techniques, technologies and methodologies should be addressed to the achievement of stated objectives by modifying and improving the relationship between plant and animal growth, the components, and factors involved in the productive process.

Currently, there is a growing interest in scientific research in the area of agricultural production under controlled environments in Europe. This area is inherently multidisciplinary. Several research groups in Europe are engaged in the areas related to the proposed action, but the information and knowledge obtained is dispersed. Moreover, considerable work was carried out in other countries outside from Europe which faced similar problems probably a long time before the problems became evident in Europe. Thus, there is an urgent demand and interest for combining all the efforts in the area. The primary objective of SMART-CEA is to bring together an international and interdisciplinary group of research teams from Europe, USA & Korea for the purpose of forming an excellent center of synergy in research, innovation and technology transfer in the area of agriculture production under controlled environments. Relative SMEs will also participate as an advisory board in order to share with them project progress and to have their feedback. During the project, we will address the identified issues in CEA production systems, share the use of innovative technologies, methods and techniques and thus remove the barriers that presently impede a fluent diffusion and actualization of the knowledge and know-how available in the field of new technologies applied to the CEA sector.

The main objectives of the SMART-CEA project are:
• increase sustainability of greenhouse and livestock sector using innovative technologies and identify common gaps, deficiencies and development needs
• reduce greenhouse gases and ammonia emission as well as pesticides use leading to a more environmental friendly/safer food agriculture production under controlled environments
• minimize the use of fossil fuel energy sources substantially in CEA and increase the percentage of renewable energy sources and
• produce healthy products which can be traced in the whole production chain

The SMART – CEA project started on the 1st of October 2011 and lasted until the end of May 2015.

The following activities have been carried out during the implementation of the project:
• Eight Joint research activities, five in Seoul Korea, and three in Arizona USA. Experienced researchers, post-doc researchers, PhD students and one person from the administrative body of IRETETH/CERTH participated in the project.
• 2 workshops were carried out, the first one entitled “Emissions and dispersions of aerial pollutants from agricultural buildings” at SNU and the second one entitled “Sustainable greenhouse agriculture production” at AU-CEAC. During the workshop issues concerning climate control and modeling issues in greenhouse environment were presented.
• 2 training seminars were carried out. The first training course entitled “Sustainable livestock production” was carried out in SNU and during the seminar issues concerning welfare, environment and emissions from livestock buildings were analyzed. The second training course entitled “Towards a sustainable greenhouse production” was also carried out in SNU and during the course issues concerning measurements and modeling of greenhouse environment were analyzed
• In total 10 publications were submitted and published in International peer reviewed journals and 20 papers were presented in conferences
• An edited volume entitled “Smart Controlled Environment Agriculture” is under preparation and it will be officially published in Ageng-CIGR2016 conference.
• Finally the project web-site is being continuously updated and three newsletters have been circulated.

Main results of the project were:
• A 3D CFD model for greenhouse
• Assessment Pesticides emissions from naturally ventilated greenhouses
• Multi-zone climate & air quality in mechanically ventilated livestock buildings
• Technologies, techniques and models for integrated control in greenhouses
• Models for assessment animal diseases in animals
• CFD model for livestock buildings
• Ammonia emission from livestock farms
• Alternative energy use in controlled environment agriculture
• Models for greenhouse cooling
• Assessment of air quality in animal buildings
• Optimum HVAC design in animal buildings