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Far Infrared Radiation Smart Fabric Heating Element for GreenHouses

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AgrowFab (Far Infrared Radiation Smart Fabric Heating Element for GreenHouses)

Période du rapport: 2018-05-01 au 2018-08-31

Traditional, resource-intensive greenhouses cannot deliver sustainable agricultural production to face increasing global population and climate change. Climate control is essential for all year-round production, and keeping the ecosystem surrounding crop’s roots at optimal conditions is key to increase yields. Most current heating technologies are not applied to the root zone and therefore are highly inefficient and produce massive heat losses. In order to guarantee food security in a sustainable manner, there is an urgent need of innovative heating technologies that provide higher productivity while making an efficient use of energy and reducing fossil fuels use. To fill this gap, we have developed AgrowFab, an innovative heating element consisting on a smart fabric made from conductive fibres that are resistively heated to generate Far Infrared Radiation (FIR). AgrowFab can be directly applied in the root zone and combined with other management systems, decreasing not only energy consumption but also pesticide use.
During Phase 1 we have defined a new, holistic approach for AgrowFab, the integration of heating and irrigation system under the same control, for which we have decided to integrate two experts in the team. We have confirmed our Freedom to Operate and identified target markets and stakeholders, as well as defined a business model based on B2B agreements with OEMs, distribution networks and integrators. This culminated in a well-defined commercial strategy, which will start by Israel and the north of Europe, followed by central Europe and Mediterranean countries and North America and APAC. Three sales scenarios have been created and analysed finding that even in a worst scenario the investment will be recovered in less than 3 years.
AgrowFab provides on-demand, precise, real-time thermal energy directly to the crop, resulting in 50-70% energy saving. Our trials with a prototype resulted in up to 30% enhanced crop production and 20% reduced time between harvests. It entails lower installation, operation and maintenance costs than conventional heating systems, alongside with renewable energy compatibility. AgrowFab enables precision agriculture and connected to renewable energy sources represents an innovative tool to fight food scarcity while minimizing the environmental impact of greenhouses. We estimate AgrowFab will unblock a market of €47 million during the five years after first commercialization, directly employing 34 people.