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Smart Technology for Optimized Greenhouse Crop Production

Research Theme
Agriculture, Food and Environment
Lead Researcher
Dr. Nick Savidov
Duration of Project
Alberta Innovates
Areas of Expertise
Project Description

With 14.74 million ft2 of greenhouse space, the greenhouse sector in Alberta is the fourth largest greenhouse industry in Canada, after Ontario, BC, and Quebec. The industry has experienced bourgeoning growth in recent years thanks to consistently low natural gas prices. This has led to a highly competitive environment as greenhouse growers in Alberta are forced to look for innovative technologies such as: LED; advanced growing media; computer-controlled climate; integrated production, such as aquaponics; sensing technology; and more efficient water and nutrient management systems. The industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact such as wastewater discharge and light contamination.

Lethbridge College (LC) has developed a unique expertise, which allows us to dramatically improve the water, nutrient, and energy efficiency of greenhouse operations. It is proposed that a new recirculating irrigation system based on sensing technology and artificial intelligence will be built and tested at LC’s Centre for Sustainable Food Production (CSFP) to improve water and nutrient efficiency for the Alberta greenhouse industry. An energy optimization model will conserve energy and improve the competitiveness of greenhouse operations in Alberta.