Van der Knaap recently opened a drying area for Obturo® plugs. Obturo plugs are excellent for drying and then rewetting. This has several advantages: dried plugs have a longer shelf life and it saves weight. To save energy costs, the company has devised a solution that is as sustainable as it gets: dry with geothermal energy!
Since 2018, the innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in Honselersdijk, the Netherlands has been connected to the geothermal energy network ‘Aardwarmte Vogelaer’. The innovation centre is certainly not a major consumer, which means that some of the geothermal energy is also available for other applications. The return water (i.e. after being used in the cultivation greenhouses) is sufficient to heat the required air for the drying room through a heat exchanger. Because they use the geothermal energy efficiently, and return cooler water. This increases the efficiency of geothermal energy consumption.
Increased shelf life
To dry the plugs, they are placed on trolleys in a separate cell. The moisture is absorbed from the plugs with warm and dry air. After delivery, the plugs can easily be returned to the correct moisture percentage. Obturo plugs absorb moisture with ease.
The main advantage of dried plugs is their increased shelf life. Living organisms such as bacteria can consume nitrate (NO3) in plugs that are kept moist for a long period of time in sealed packaging. This happens especially when the oxygen present has been consumed by the presence of aerobic bacteria. When this happens, the bacteria will feast on the oxygen that is bound to NO3, with N eventually escaping as nitrogen gas. In addition to this process, other important nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, also disappear over time. However, drying the plugs halts these processes and the nutritional elements will not or hardly be consumed. This allows the plugs to be stored and transported without loss of quality.
Obturo plugs can be tailored to customer requirements. The size, tray, cutting holes and potting soil mixture can be adjusted in consultation. In this way, Obturo offers all the flexibility to perfect the cultivation process.
For more information:
Van der Knaap