Best fans for better indoor farming

21 February 2022 | Int. Greenhouse Guide | ZIEHL-ABEGG SE

Greenhouses are back in vogue
Much more than beauty and fashion, in the style of 19th Century, now from the perspective of a deployment of cutting-edge technology in materials, growing techniques, climatization and ventilation systems. They are becoming avant-garde indoor farming systems. When it comes to equipment and technology, further to the progressive development of structures, construction and planting materials along the last 40 years, there is an aspect to highlight: Environmental Management.

It may seem self-evident speaking of greenhouses, and yet only temperature is quite often in the spotlight. Some professional facilities integrate humidity and CO2 control as well, although air movement concept is hardly ever completely developed. The air exchange rate observed for indoor farming tends to be underrated; homogenisation of environmental conditions and its relevance for photosynthesis, gases interchange and energy balance in the greenhouse quite often does not even show up in the equation.

An integrated perspective of the greenhouse ventilation is fundamental in order to reach the productive limits of current highly selected cultivars and its role on diseases and plagues control is undeniable. Different international studios reveal production increase up to 20% due to the introduction of adequate aeration. Even so, not every system and not every fan will do; all too often the approach is short-sighted, looking more at minimising the upfront investment at the cost of the profitability.

These investments are easily justified by the increase in production and the reduction of sanitary issues, although attention must be still paid to power consumption and, therefore, to efficiency. Talking efficiency, it is not only about electrical motor technology (three-phased vs single-phased, direct drive vs belt drive, EC vs induction motors…) but also and specially about aerodynamics.

After many decades of development, worldwide leaders of industrial ventilation systems, like ZIEHL-ABEGG, provide a full menu of high-efficiency possibilities, including the latest cutting-edge technology of motors combined with pioneering biomimetic solutions.These are common products already in other market segments such as energy, building or IT, why the agricultural applications are still hesitant to bring these benefits on board? Our ambition is affirming the lead role of ventilation in sustainable indoor farming; giving it the importance it deserves at balancing climate conditions, optimising the efficiency of the ecosystem and encouraging plants healthy growth.

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