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.
- H2020-EU.3.2. - SOCIETAL CHALLENGES - Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy Main Programme
- H2020-EU.3.2.4. - Sustainable and competitive bio-based industries and supporting the development of a European bioeconomy
- H2020-EU.3.2.1. - Sustainable agriculture and forestry
- H2020-EU.2.3.1. - Mainstreaming SME support, especially through a dedicated instrument
- H2020-EU.3.2.2. - Sustainable and competitive agri-food sector for a safe and healthy diet
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