IRTA Carretera de Cabrils

Cabrils, Spain

IRTA Carretera de Cabrils

Cabrils, Spain
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Munoza P.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Paranjpe A.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Montero J.I.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Anton A.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

Nitrate pollution due to excessive N fertirrigation in greenhouse tomato production is a persisting environmental concern in the Mediterranean region. Closed or re-circulating hydroponic systems can significantly reduce fertilizer run-off but not eliminate it, and the spent nutrient solution has to be ultimately collected and treated at the end of the crop cycle. Also, closed systems involve greater installation and running costs, need a high degree of automation and technical skill, and their economic viability is a question of debate in southern Europe horticulture. As a consequence, the majority of the high-value horticultural production in Mediterranean countries is done using 'open' systems. The aim of this paper is to present an alternative way to reduce fertilizer use and, hence, reduce the pollution potential of leachate in soilless crops by collecting and re-using it for a second greenhouse crop. Avoided environmental impact quantification was performed by using LCA tool. Results showed a slight decrease in yield for the soil crop, in comparison with the soilless system, but marketable production (15 kg m-2) for this treatment was higher than the average production of soil grown tomatoes (12 kg m-2). Nitrogen balance for the two combined systems showed an important decrease in N leachate (more than 60% referred to the soilless system). The adoption of the cascade crop system reduced environmental impact for climate change category by 21%, but increased eutrophication category by 10% because of the yield reduction. Further research will be oriented to look for the optimum management of lixiviates combined with organic and/or mineral fertilizers for these cascade crops.


Anton A.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Torrellas M.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Montero J.I.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Ruijs M.,Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture | And 2 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

This environmental impact assessment of the current situation of Dutch tomato production in a Venlo greenhouse in a temperate climate was developed as part of the EUPHOROS project. The project aims to develop a more sustainable greenhouse system with a reduction of external inputs yet with high productivity and an efficient use of resources. The environmental impact analysis was based on using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology as defined by the ISO 14040. The crop production system was structured in several stages and processes to facilitate the study and interpretation of results. The stages considered were structure, auxiliary equipment, climate control system, fertilizers, pesticides and waste. The main results and issues to be improved are described and presented in this paper. The use of a cogeneration system (CHP) and the consequent production of electricity create a methodological question on how to handle allocation between products. This paper shows two different methods for dealing with co-production: considering electricity as an avoided product and energy allocation at CHP. Depending on the approach considered values can range between 12 to 31 MJ/kg of tomato or 0.78 to 2.0 kg CO2 eq/kg of tomato for instance. Climate control system had a high energy demand with major contributions to all the impact categories (81.1 to 96.1% of the total) and the rockwool substrate accounted for 57.0 to 81.7% of the auxiliary equipment contribution. More effort should be made to recycle rockwool and reduce the high energy demand associated with the expansion of the mineral in the manufacturing processes. The structure was a major burden due to the high amount of steel and glass. Energy environmental impacts could be reduced, because of the avoided electricity production by the power plant, by using a combined heat and power plant to meet greenhouse electricity demands, resulting in a surplus which could be delivered to the public grid. Further research should also be oriented to developing efficient technologies to improve the intensive use of materials and energy.


Torrellas M.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Anton A.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Ruijs M.,Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture | Garcia Victoria N.,Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2012

In this study we analyzed the environmental and economic profile of current agricultural practices for greenhouse crops, in cold and warm climates in Europe, using four scenarios as reference systems: tomato crop in a plastic greenhouse in Spain, and in glasshouses in Hungary and the Netherlands, and rose crop in a glasshouse in the Netherlands. This study is in the context of the EUPHOROS project "Efficient Use of Inputs in Protected Horticulture". The aim of EUPHOROS project is to improve horticultural production systems in Europe by developing cleaner production alternatives from both an environmental and economic point of view. The methodologies selected for the study were Life Cycle Assessment for the environmental analysis and cost-benefit analysis for the economic assessment. Dutch reference systems used a combined heat and power (CHP) system for the production of thermal energy and electricity. Two approaches were used to study the multifunctionality of CHP: system expansion and energy allocation. The main environmental burdens in the four scenarios were energy consumption, greenhouse structure and fertilizers. Environmental impacts due to energy consumption can be reduced by using co-generation or geothermal water in glasshouses. The structure contribution can be decreased with the improvement of recycled materials and design. Adjustment of fertilizer doses and closed irrigation systems are recommended in Spain and Hungary. The best economic perspectives to reduce inputs are energy savings in glasshouses and reduction of fertilizers in Spain and Hungary. The study shows the importance of including economic and environmental aspects in sustainability studies. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Torrellas M.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Anton A.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Montero J.I.,IRTA Carretera de Cabrils | Baeza E.J.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion | And 2 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

The objective of this study was to identify the main bottlenecks of tomato production in a multispan tunnel greenhouse in a Mediterranean climate. This study was carried out as part of the EUPHOROS project, which aims to develop sustainable greenhouse production systems with a reduction of external inputs yet with high productivity. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was the methodology used to evaluate the environmental impacts of the production system. The system boundary was defined from raw materials extraction to farm gate, including materials waste disposal. The production system was modelled considering the following stages: structure, auxiliary equipment, climate control system, fertilizers, pesticides and waste. Results from the environmental assessment indicate that the burdens are the structure, auxiliary equipment and fertilizers. The structure was a major burden due to the large amount of steel in the frame. The high contribution of the auxiliary equipment was due to the substrate (perlite) manufacture and electricity consumption by the irrigation system. Fertilizers use had major environmental impacts as a result of both manufacturing processes and emissions because of their use. The main recommendations are oriented to reducing these impacts. Extension of greenhouse life span and increase in productivity could directly mitigate burdens per unit of produce, and recycling used substrate and reducing substrate volume per plant are both proposed. Since this soilless system was an open system, an efficient balance of both fertilizers and water is suggested.

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