A robotic greenhouse capable to operate automatically in the Arctic
Researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) are implementing a large-scale interdisciplinary project on developing and constructing an innovative autonomous greenhouse. For its operation, the University's advanced technologies will be applied such as phytotrons, ceramic emitters, spectroscopic studies, automated control systems and others.
The project is supervised by Dr. Damir Valiev, the assistant at the Division of Materials Science of the TPU School of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. The project devoted to the Development of Innovative Resource-Efficient Research Block-Modular Greenhouse Polygon Using Digital Technology and Automation, Applicable in the Arctic was backed by the grant of the TPU Program on Competitiveness Enhancement. A one-year project has been already started to carry out.
According to Damir Valiev, polycrystalline luminescent materials are promising from the standpoint of lighting engineering. Their advantages are due to the higher efficiency of converting UV radiation into visible, high thermal characteristics which ensure long service life of solid-state light sources. This is the technology which will be used in the future greenhouse.
The scientists will also improve express testing of plants progress. They are tasked to study a 'feedback' from the plants in conditions created for growth. The project also implies the development of unmatched lighting facilities, i.g. phytotrons that adjust the optimal spectral composition of light taking into account biological features of species and cultivated variety of plants.
"The polygon consists of three units. About 50% of the area will be occupied with planting (in the beginning we will cultivate cucumbers). Then there is a research unit where we will study radiation modes for plant growing. Here the fundamental part of the research will be carried out. In addition, a robotic system and radiation modes will be tested there, and drones will pollinate plants. The third unit is assigned to supporting services,' told the project supervisor.
According to the idea of the TPU scientists, this experience might be applied in northern areas and in the Arctic. 'This is a pilot project and we are going to translate it to the regions with extreme operating conditions. Our possible counterparts supply 'smart' greenhouses to adapted to the climate of the European part of Russia and work with ready-made solutions without involving research,' added Dr. Valiev.