Start-up BBBLS builds CO2 neutral greenhouse at Koppert Cress
Thanks to a REACT EU subsidy, it is possible for start-up BBBLS to realize the first full-fledged 1000 m2 test greenhouse in the Netherlands at Koppert Cress, a grower from the Westland area.
A greenhouse filled with soap bubbles
BBBLS Energy Saving Greenhouses is an innovative start-up that is building the greenhouse of the future, where CO2 neutral cultivation and energy savings are paramount. The Norwegian/Dutch start-up has already built four greenhouses in Norway, of which the largest Norwegian project (1500 m2) was completed in 2018 and has been producing tomato crops succesfully for 3 seasons. Thanks to a REACT EU subsidy, it is possible for start-up BBBLS to realize the first full-fledged 1000 m2 test greenhouse in the Netherlands at Koppert Cress, a grower from the Westland area.
Rob Baan (CEO Koppert Cress): "The horticultural sector plays a major role in solving global food and sustainability challenges. In doing so, we like to seek out cooperation with startups. Because startups oftentimes come from outside of the sector they view challenges from a completely different perspective. For example, they come up with surprising applications of techniques that are sometimes already used in other sectors but new to horticulture."
Optimal dynamic insulation
One of BBBLS' most visible innovations is the double-walled foil greenhouse, where the space between the walls can be filled with soap bubbles for optimal dynamic insulation. As the weather conditions change, the soap bubbles can be blown in or sprayed out, resulting in an increased insulation value by a factor of 10 and extremely low energy loss and use. In addition, the bubbles provide the necessary shadow and, due to the characteristics of soap bubbles, the light is distributed diffusely over the crop. Thanks to the very low energy demand, the greenhouse runs completely on electricity with the help of heat pumps which is even CO2-neutral when using green electricity.
The test and demonstration greenhouse will be built next to one of the Koppert Cress cultivation locations where Oyster Leaves are cultivated; a plant that is very sensitive to changes in the greenhouse climate. By placing the BBBLS greenhouse next to the conventional greenhouse, this project makes it possible to keep all cultivation variables equal and therefore the impact of the BBBLS technology on the crop and greenhouse climate can be measured precisely.
BBBLS has set the goal to verify the energy efficiency in the Dutch weather conditions and to work on further optimizing the crop quality. In addition, by placing the demonstration greenhouse in the heart of the Westland area, the technology can be further validated in cooperation with local growers. In this way, BBBLS aims to scale up to projects of two hectares. Thanks to the short cultivation process of the Oyster Leaves there are a lot of opportunities for experimentation and thus the design can be further optimized. Financed with a budget of more than one million euros from REACT EU/Kansen Voor West II, the construction of the greenhouse is expected to start in Q2 2022.
By investing in fossil fuel free technological innovations, Koppert Cress has succeeded in quadrupling its cultivation area over the years, while simultaneously reducing its gas consumption by almost 70% per m2 . Rob Baan: "It is in the spirit of growers to become more sustainable, because reducing energy consumption almost always results in lower costs. BBBLS technology will help us take the next step."