Vision of the project:
To promote the smart greenhouse culture in Egypt to efficiently produce food via building a smart greenhouse and to make Zagaizg University home of expertise in designing and operating smart greenhouse overall Egypt
Scope of the project:
Food security is becoming an important issue for many countries around the world. It is of a particular concern in Egypt’s remote areas and many countries in the region where the hot climate, high solar radiation and shortage of fresh water resources continue to pose an obstacle to raising farmland, and make growing any crops expensive and resource intensive. The high rate of water requirements for agriculture (about 60 – 80% of country’s water share), is one of the great challenges which can strongly affect the sustainable development plans. Water is required for plants as it is the medium of absorbing the plant nutrition. The absorbed water is ultimately transferred by transpiration to the surroundings through plant leaves.
General Aim of the project:
The general aim of this project is to establish a strong and lasting collaboration and exchange of knowledge between the universities of Exeter in the UK and Zagazig/E-JUST in Egypt, to encourage joint participation in research and development. This will also include; (a) joint supervision of Ph.D. and M.Sc. students in water, food and energy nexus and (b) transfer of knowlage / developed technology to local industries and the public in-general for the benefit of the society at large.
Specific Objectives of the Project:
The specific technical objective is to develop, design and pilot test a novel standalone, cost effective, solar-driven integrated agricultural GH-desalination system that grows its energy and water demand (i.e., is self-sufficient in energy and irrigating water) with controlled microclimatic conditions. The new solar GH-desalination system will utilize the surplus solar energy during the day (above that required for the plants photosynthetic process) to;
i- Generate electric power and thermal energy using thermal PV with air-cooling (PV/T),
ii- Produce irrigation water using well developed water treatment technologies. Based on the available water salinity and bio-chemical contents; a water treatment unit integrated with Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination unit will be used to provide water for irrigation in addition to partial recovery of the GH air humidity.
iii- Provide the plant with the required microclimatic environment and comfort conditions (light, temperature, humidity and air velocity) for different operational scenarios, seasonal climatic conditions and maximum crop productivity.
iv- Drive, naturally, the ventilation and re-circulation of GH air system using the thermal chimney concept and eliminate the mechanical fan’s CAPEX and OPEX.
v- Use the high-concentration salt water produced from water desalination in cultivation of plants resistant to salinity, seafood production and production of bio-fuel plants.
The new system will be a provider of the basic food requirements for small communities living in remote areas and as a means of creating jobs and business opportunities.