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Sustainable growing media for vegetable cultivation

Objective

A Finnish SME, Novarbo, has developed a sustainable and cost-effective way to manufacture hydroponics growth medium Mosswool® as a sustainable and compostable drop-in replacement for the non-biodegradable stonewool growth media (e.g. Rockwool insulation material), which has the majority market share for the hydroponic cultivation of vegetable crops. There is a strong desire for sustainable alternatives to stonewool and other mineral-based media. Some greenhouse growers have already switched to coconut coir-based materials, despite their harmful environmental impact during manufacture.

The innovation is to utilize sphagnum moss, harvested in EU countries by using a new technique that skims only a top layer of moss. Ecological and hydrological balance of the bogs are preserved and they return to their former state within 3 years. Patented manufacturing techniques are used to fabricate Mosswool® slabs. A demonstration-scale manufacturing plant will be designed and the production process fully costed to allow for a robust investment case. The objectives are production scale-up from pilot to demonstration plant scale, cost and eco-optimization of Mosswool® slabs and performance testing at test institutes and commercial greenhouses. Life-cycle assessment of Mosswool slabs compared to competing products will be made. Benefits of Mosswool® will be communicated by augmented Novarbo’s sales network. Reliable production cost and capacity calculations will be developed to include in a robust business plan with reliable investment calculations for industrial scale production, and private or SME-instrument Phase 3 funding will be prepared. SME instrument funding of demonstration, testing and scaling-up would support company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan.

Novarbo is the leading expert in professional horticulture and greenhouse technology with an established greenhouse cultivation business. Export operations cover more than 60 countries.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/sustainable agriculture
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/horticulture

Call for proposal

H2020-SMEINST-2-2016-2017
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-2 - SME instrument phase 2

Coordinator

NOVARBO OY
Address
Lauttakylantie 570
27510 Eura
Finland
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 2 442 146