Article. Energy in fokus - from Kyoto to Copenhagen. - AgroTech

agrotech.dk

Article. Energy in fokus - from Kyoto to Copenhagen. - AgroTech

Jens Møller Jensen, CTO, Danfoss IXA A/S, jensen@danfoss.com and Bent S. Bennedsen, Agrotech A/S, bsb@agrotech.dk

Environmental sensors

for harsh environments

– a novel approach to multiple parameter sensors for greenhouses

Sensors for environmental parameters are numerous and widespread, and the

number of applications in which such sensors are applied is constantly rising.

One application of interest is greenhouse production, in which the application

of multiple distributed sensors can serve to drastically reduce energy

consumption and improve growth control

However, this approach implies

requirements that are not fulfilled

with existing sensors, namely requirements

that the sensors function continuously

and stably and with little or no maintenance

requirement in a harsh environment

likely to contaminate the sensors.

Additional requirements are that the sensors

can operate wirelessly in order to

enable use of multiple sensors without

obstructions and expensive cabling, and

that they can do so at an energy consumption

level low enough to be powered by

energy harvesting, avoiding the need for

recurrent battery exchange.

New sensors needed

Currently available sensors are in general

not specifically designed for harsh environments,

and in most cases standard

sensors are therefore applied with various

additional measures to protect them and

with limited positioning options to compensate

for the harsh environment impact.

Moreover, different sensors

are needed for the various

environment parameters. This

means the sensors are even less

applicable, less durable and less

accurate than needed in order

to efficiently provide measurement

data for optimum energy

management and environment

control.

Such control requires monitoring

of the environment in close

proximity to the plants, and the

sensors therefore should be placed

amongst the plants, preferably

on a multiple distributed

basis. The sensors should be able

to withstand close impacts from

the various plant-care activities

while at the same time not requiring

tedious time and effort consuming installation

and maintenance, which impedes

daily work routines.

Obtaining these features requires

sensors that are actually designed for

the purpose. They must be reliable and

durable and designed for maximum usability

in the specific application, and they

must require no or very little service and

maintenance. They must also be able to

communicate data wirelessly in order to

facilitate easy and dynamic positioning

and handling.

Novel approach

All this calls for a novel approach to

greenhouse sensors in technology, conception

and design. Danfoss IXA A/S,

together with partners of the Greenhouse

Concept 2017, is developing such sensors,

based on novel and patented optical principles

incorporating nanotechnology.

Danfoss IXA A/S has developed and

patented a novel optical measurement

principle and novel nano-coating principles

which, together with application

targeted design, enable sensors with all

the required properties. The sensors simultaneously

measure CO2, absolute and

relative humidity, including dew point,

various temperatures and light; they are

faster than existing sensors, they are self

cleaning and hermetically sealed, they

are powered by energy-harvesting, and

they communicate wirelessly in a multiple-node

network which enables huge

improvements in both greenhouse energy

consumption and growth control. At the

same time the sensors impose no additional

maintenance and service requirements

on the users. The sensors can withstand

direct exposure to the various daily plantcare

activities and handling and they

are specifically designed for optimum

usability and efficiency in professio-

nal greenhouse production plants.


ENERGY IN FOCUS 11

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