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Sustainable growing media for vegetable cultivation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MOSSWOOL (Sustainable growing media for vegetable cultivation)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-12-31

A Finnish SME, Novarbo Oy, has developed a sustainable and cost-effective way to manufacture hydroponics growth medium Mosswool® as a sustainable, recyclable and compostable drop-in replacement for the non-biodegradable stonewool growth media for the hydroponic cultivation of vegetable crops. There is a strong desire for sustainable alternatives to stonewool and other mineral-based growing media.

The innovation is to utilize sphagnum moss, harvested in Nordic EU countries by using a new unique technique that skims only a top layer of moss. Ecological and hydrological balance of the bogs are preserved and they return to fully sphagnum covered former state within 3 years. Patented manufacturing techniques are used to fabricate Mosswool® slabs. Novarbo has built a demonstration-scale manufacturing plant and supplied test customers with Mosswool® slabs.

The overall 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 have been made. Benefits of Mosswool® are communicated by augmented Novarbo’s sales network.

Conclusions of the action are that Mosswool® is a sustainable alternative for stonewool and coconut coir growing slabs. Feedback from both non-commercial testing greenhouses and commercial greenhouses has been very positive, and Mosswool® performance has been equal or better than stonewool and coconut coir.
Demonstration-scale Mosswool® manufacturing plant has been successfully designed, constructed and commissioned. Mosswool® slabs have been manufactured and distributed to testing customers.

Mosswool® slabs have been optimized economically and ecologically.

Mosswool® performance tests have been conducted at non-commercial testing greenhouses and commercial greenhouses. Feedback from customers has been very positive.

Benefits of Mosswool® have been communicated by augmented Novarbo’s sales network in customer meetings and workshops, exhibitions and fairs. There seems to be a lot of demand for Mosswool® on the market.
Reliable production cost and capacity calculations have been 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.