Project news High-tech applications for climate-neutral greenhouse horticulture

plastic film over greenhouse wall
One of the innovative techniques being developed is energy balancing day and night screens.

The INTERREG project Glitch aims to bring a more high-tech approach to greenhouse horticulture by intervening in the innovation process itself. Growers, technology companies, research institutions and customers work together on more efficient and sustainable cultivation systems and techniques. ILVO takes the lead in this project for the further development of climate-neutral greenhouse horticulture.

Climate-neutral greenhouse horticulture

The greenhouse horticulture sector is a highly productive sector - as well as a major energy consumer within the agricultural sector in Flanders. Yet there are solutions to make the sector more sustainable. The recent innovative tendered "EXEkas" project has shown that by using energy balancing day screens and the vapor heat pump the heat demand in the greenhouse during the day is reduced by 80%, with a profitable investment. The current project "climate neutral greenhouse horticulture" within the Interreg project GLITCH builds further on this acquired knowledge. The ultimate goal is two test greenhouses with a heat demand reduction of 60-80%. That is a big step forward towards climate neutral greenhouse horticulture!

Innovative techniques

As a follow-up to the developed energy-balancing day screens, energy-balancing night screens are being developed in this project. The aim is a spectacular increase in the insulation value of the greenhouse at night. To remove the water vapor in the air in the greenhouse, the vapor heat pump is being further developed. For this purpose, a vacuum evaporator for salt solution will be designed, built and tested at UGent and then connected to the existing installation in Sint Katelijne Waver. All these techniques will then be tested in 2020 on a tomato and bell pepper crop in the test centers at Sint Katelijne Waver and Hoogstraten respectively.

Toward a healthier climate

A (more) climate-neutral greenhouse horticulture will strengthen the position of the sector, which is currently heavily dependent on energy prices and/or subsidy systems. This will also give the sector a greener image. For the government, such developments are important in the pursuit of a healthier climate and to achieve European objectives. The techniques under development are applicable to most energy-intensive greenhouse crops.

Project title: GLITCH - Glastuinbouw Innoveert door Co-creatie met Koolstofarme Hightech

Funding: Interreg V
Term: 2018 - 2021
: PSKW, PCH, Thomas More, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteit Gent, Blue Engineering, Bluehub, Innoveins, Maurice Kassenbouw, EMS en Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo


Contact us

Luis Corbalá Robles

ILVO researcher

See also

In the media 03/04/2023

Climate change brings new crops to Flanders

chickpea growing on the plant
Now that it is more often dry for long periods, we need to grow plants that can withstand harsher conditions. New crops are appearing in Flanders.