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The first step towards emission-free cultivation

"It sounds very simple, but a critical look at your water systems can save a lot of money. Everything you recycle doesn’t have to be purified. This way growers can take the first step towards emission-free cultivation. This creates room for savings internationally," says Julia Model, product manager Water at Priva.

Water purification, water recycling, cultivation without discharge - these topics are becoming increasingly important. The first milestone for Dutch growers is the year 2018, when they need to purify whatever is discharged. The next one is in 2027, when this will be scaled up to complete, obligated purification. With the discharge decision the Netherlands has chosen a fairly strict interpretation of the European set rules - but for all the European growers strict rules are coming.

Nico Enthoven and Julia Model

UV in combination with hydrogen peroxide
"The techniques aren't that much of an issue, but the purification method must also be financially viable," says Nico Enthoven, Chemical Process Engineer at Priva. The company is working hard to accomplish this. In an exploratory study it was found that a combination of UV with hydrogen peroxide gives good results in terms of water treatment. "It can be an economical purification method for growers who already have a UV device. They can use the existing equipment and thus offset some of the cost," according to Enthoven. "Now we need to know whether growers want to invest in this method. If growers show enough interest for this product, we will take the next step."

Global applications
These developments are of great importance in Dutch and European horticulture, but Priva’s activities go beyond that. The knowledge gained can be applied globally. Julia Model: "Saving possibilities are the reason of interest most of the time. Fortunately, sustainable choices and financial benefit for the grower increasingly go hand in hand. We see this for example in California, where water shortages threaten soft fruit cultivation. With partners we are now working on growing with less water there."

Different motivations and circumstances result in different uses and combinations of the Priva installations. Look at city farming projects in the US, for example. "Growing is done with tap water. That contains a lot of chlorine and salt. We can offer large installations for this, but because these are often small-scale projects you must also provide small-scale solutions. We are currently working hard at offering appropriate solutions.” Which is different than in Mexico, where the problems are partly similar but the solutions are completely different. "Growing is done differently: in hoop tunnels and in the open field. Bigger strides can then sometimes be made with a fertilizer installation."

Differentiated approach
The diversity of this global activity results in requires a different way of thinking. "We focus on multiple segments. And each segment has its own challenges and solutions. This requires a differentiated approach with customized solutions per segment," says Model. An example of this is the Neutralizer. "Essential for greenhouses. It does well in the open field, but there’s less benefit. The question is whether it then remains interesting for growers. We then make the calculations and adapt the product to fit the needs of the segment to create a win-win situation for all parties."

Critical step
One thing, however, is the same for growers worldwide: everywhere the first step in saving is taking a critical look at your own water cycle. Everything you reuse, does not need to be purified or repurchased. "So make sure you don’t drain too much," Model explains. "If you go back from 50 to 40, it already saves a great deal." A critical look at the composition of the fertilizer and the amount of irrigation water used and reused prevents crop damage and optimizes the use of fertilizers. With many crops there is room for this and it can be calculated relatively easily with a Maximizer, Compact or Connext computer. "It often results in an enormous benefit - also financially - but you have to stop and take a look at it."

For more information:
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2678 LC De Lier
T: +31 (0)174 522 600
F: +31 (0)174 522 700
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