The project is about sustainable food production: an integration of hydroponics (tomatos) and aquacultura (tilapia fish). The project studied the possibilities of integrating fish farming in a closed cultivation system as is normally used in greenhouse farming. This is a sustainable method of fish farming because recycling water, heat and space is given priority and contaminated water is not discharged.
Description of the Process
The study, which integrated a tilapia fish nursery and a hydroponic tomato plantation, explored the lessened environmental impact and reduced financial requirements of a dual cultivation system. The closed cultivation system consists in aproximately ten steps. First the rainwater is pumped to the band filter and coarse pollutants are removed from the water. A UV disinfector kills all bacteria and viruses. The water is then heated at the ideal temperature for the fish. In a trickle filter tower there are elements with organic life which cleans the water in an organic manner. After that temperature oxygen level and fertilisiers are measured, the threated and clean water is pumped to the fish basin. Depending on the enrichment of the fish water, the water is drained off to the tomato crop. This drain water is added to the dirty water tank together with the drain water coming from the tomatos. The same water is disinfected using a UV disinfector and kept ina clean water tank to ensure that this water can be recycled as irrigation water. The irrigation water system uses the water with nutrients from the clean water tank and supplements this with the nutrients that are still required for the tomatoes. Finally, when the water level in the fish farming tanks drops as a result of draining for the tomato cultivation, fresh rainwater is added in order to keep the level constant.
Factors that contributed to the success of the project
The combination of producing vegetables and fish in the same greenhouse offers many advantages: more efficient use of water, heat and space; no environmentally damaging discharge of fish water; recycling of mineral-rich water for tomato production; guaranteed traceability and food safety; controlled cultivation, constant quality.
Role of different stakeholders in the system during the realization and maintenance of the project
Eco Futura realized a trial project where in-depth technological knowledge and a multidisciplinary approach were requested. In order to reach this, a consortium has been established consisting of companies like Priva (climate, process automation and building control), GreenQ (horticultural, growing techniques), Groen Agro Control (laboratory research on physical, chemical and microbiological techniques) and Aqua-Terra Nova (water purification and management, environment and land use).