PLANK: Plant Landbouw Algen Natuur Kaumera

Due to the growing world population, resources and raw materials will become increasingly scarce. Therefore, the Dutch government and industry have set the goal to become a circular economy in which all resources are reusable by 2050. To enable this transition, development of novel sustainable technologies that can recover valuable resources from industrial, agricultural and municipal wastewater streams. This is key to close the food, water energy Nexus. One of those technologies is the production of food by hydroponics; Plants growing in water with all the key ingredients present for growth instead of fertilized soil. Hydroponics were already known to the Aztecs. In this project we will use new technology to use this ancient technique.

With the production and treatment of (waste)waters new raw materials are produced. Many of these products can be used in food production as fertilizers or bio stimulants for plants or algae and are especially suitable for a hydroponics system.

In this project you, together with our partners, will set up a state of the art hydroponics system, in which the key parameters (conductivity, pH etc.) are measured and adjusted automatically in order to test different fertilizer streams for the growth of plants and or algae. You will monitor and evaluate the plant/algae growth based on macro properties as well as plant hormones. And you will analyse a biopolymer from one of our partners for fertilization, stimulation and coating properties.

This project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):