The growing world population induces competition for water, land, food, and energy. But resources are limited, and unsustainable agricultural practices and climate change are aggravating these problems.
Aquaponics system for (nearly) emission free tomato- and fish production in greenhouses.
Therefore, the European Union (EU) decided to fund a visionary project: for the next 4 years, 18 partners from 8 countries will work on an auspicious new green technology. About 6 million Euros are granted to implement an innovative aquaponics system that has the potential to contribute remarkably to global food security for the 21st century.
Aquaponics is a portmanteau word, including aquaculture (fish rearing) and hydroponics (soilless plant breeding). An aquaponics system allows the double-use of water, nutrients, energy, and space. Wastewater from the aquaculture section is used for the nutrition of the plants. The newly started collaborative project INAPRO (“Innovative model & demonstration based water management for resource efficiency in integrated multitrophic agriculture and aquaculture systems”) aims at achieving a real breakthrough towards implementation and commercialization of this promising technology.
The project coordination of INAPRO is located at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin, Germany. Scientists at IGB have developed the technology “ASTAF-PRO” (aquaponics system for (nearly) emission free tomato- and fish production in greenhouses) that provides ideal growth conditions for both fishes and vegetables at the same time – a challenge that traditional aquaponics systems cannot overcome. “ASTAF-PRO offers sustainable value-added chains, with special regards to a significantly reduced water and carbon footprint compared to currently existing systems”, explains Prof. Dr. Werner Kloas, one of the developers.
“ASTAF-PRO is the technological basis for INAPRO. Together with our international, highly qualified and experienced project partners from science and industry, we aim at covering the whole value chain from research to market, from modeling and experimental research at pilot scale to communication and knowledge transfer to policymaking, business and the public at large”, outlines Dr. Georg Staaks, project coordinator for INAPRO.
In the project, four large-scale demonstration facilities – each at about 500m² – will be modeled, built, and evaluated. The sites will be located in Spain, Belgium, Germany, and China. Additionally, an artist will design several smaller mobile showcases to present the aquaponics system to the public. “Thereby, all stakeholders will have the possibility to experience this innovative technology”, says Staaks.
“We want to prove the economic viability of the system, and develop modular solutions of the system scalable and adaptable to local conditions. INAPRO will open new market opportunities for innovative aquaponics both inside and outside Europe, for producers and technology suppliers from the manufacturing industries as well as for the end-users”, summarizes Kloas.IGB provides further information (fact sheet) and graphical material for the media.
Karl-Heinz Karisch | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
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