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Argentina: A smart greenhouse for urban crops
Two young entrepreneurs who graduated from the UBA have developed smart hydroponic greenhouses (i.e. greenhouses that use mineral solutions instead of soil substrate to cultivate their crops). This invention allows people to produce healthier vegetables in 50 square meters, on the terraces of the buildings, in a sustainable way, and with the help of robotics.
Laurus, the invention of Nicolas Bisso, an industrial engineer, and Sebastian Carrazzoni, an electronic engineer, is a combination of different technical proposals, which include robotics, machine learning, and cloud data processing to take advantage of small urban spaces that aren't used to produce food.
For some years, urban agriculture has become a trend in Anglo-Saxon countries where green terraces proliferate in large cities, for the mass production of vegetables that arrive fresher to the supermarket shelves and with lower doses of pesticides.
However, this model needs more than 500 square meters of arable land to be profitable, a condition that is difficult to meet in large residential areas in Argentina. Faced with this impossibility, Laurus positions itself as the best solution developed so far, since it contemplates a simple installation on the rooftops.
The greenhouse is inflatable and, although it has a connection to the electrical grid and a backup generator, the fan that keeps the structure assembled and the robots that work inside it are powered by solar energy.
In the greenhouse, the crops are grown in hydroponic towers in which the soil substrate is replaced by aqueous solutions with nutrients. The dosage of this nutrients are automatically applied to the solutions, depending on the needs of the plant.
"Since they are in a cloud, all the greenhouses in a network can be controlled from a single computer with a few clicks," stated Nicolas Bisso.
Publication date: 1/15/2018
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