The PlantCUBE is designed to realize energy and resource efficient crop production facilities that produce high quality food. Thus, it forms a central element of all material cycles, since the plants cultivated in it represent the primary link in the cycle. Furthermore, it is the backbone of the most important energy-saving potential because it can serve as a closed greenhouse unit as a supplier of heat energy and water. It combines intensive plant production systems and technology for energy and water generation in interaction with smart control strategies. This combination allows a dynamic adaptation of the culture management according to defined target values. Unlike traditional climate management strategies, sensory data that provide inferences about photosynthetic performance are key input parameters for control strategies. The PlantCube is understood as an agricultural production unit and differs substantially from previous approaches by integrating the following innovative system solutions:
Plant production, heat energy and water supplier for other agrarian processes
Construction as ultralight CUBE with ETFE double-layer film
Remote Cube with complete control of light intensity and quality as well as microclimatic conditions used for targeted accumulation of secondary metabolites in plants
Application of a Mollier tracking-based climate control system with an innovative phytocontrol system
Use of ion-selective sensors to monitor nutrients in hydroponic systems
Flexible replacement of the grow interior
Installation of a new hybrid Aeroponic-NFT system and a new vertical hydraulic container system
Phytomonitoring for the early detection of biotic stressors
multilevel phenotyping: genomics and ecophysiology combined with mathematical models for the automated interpretation of stress responses and thus qualitative / quantitative statements on product quality
Dr. Dennis Dannehl has worked at different research centers in Germany and New Zealand and is currently employed as postdoc at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is an expert in controlled environment horticulture and especially focused on the development of technical systems and control methods applied in greenhouses to optimise plant growth and health related plant compounds in vegetables.
Dr. Inga Mewis holds a doctorate in biology with a focus on the chemical ecology of herbivores. Prior to her employment as a research assistant at the Division Biosystems Engineering at HU Berlin, she worked at various renowned research institutions, e.g. in Germany (TU Munich, MPI, IGZ, TU Berlin), the Philippines (CLSU), the USA (Penn State, Virginia Tech) and Taiwan (AVRDC). Her current research focus is on the product quality of Brassicaceae under stress in combination with herbivory.
With the RemoteCUBE in the Subproject PlantCUBE the working group at Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (HSWT) will focus on application-oriented technical solutions to produce horticultural crops. For this purpose, the existing catalog of criteria for production and interaction with cultural management within the closed system will be expanded and deepened. The resource efficiency is documented and the data for calculating an LCA, which will act as an interface for other SPs, is generated. Comparisons between the fully closed system, working without sunlight just by artificial LED and the PlantCUBE in Berlin next to other systems will provide an evaluation and further optimization. To improve the profitability of the system the HSWT works on strategies to generate an added value to the produce. In Addition, the high proportion of electrical energy consumption is to be reduced by various approaches. The Focus is Primary on the energy consumption through the artificial exposure system. In addition, alternative energy supply concepts are examined for their potentials.
Prof. Dr. Heike Mempel
Sabine Wittmann (M.Sc. after graduation) studied at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf Horticulture in the Bachelor`s Degree. Simultaneously she works as a research assistant in the project PROSIBOR. After finishing her Master's Degree Course in Horticulture Management at the Technical University of Munich in 2020, she will temporarily supervise both projects until PROSIBOR is completed.
During this time, she will work on the integration of the RemoteCUBE into the CUBESCircle under the direction of Prof. Mempel. Afterwards she will fully take over the Sub-Project PlantCUBE (HSWT) and focus on the measurement and optimization of resource and energy efficiency and the spezific influence of the quality of products to generate an added value.