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

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

Jens Møller Jensen, CTO, Danfoss IXA A/S,, Bent S. Bennedsen, Agrotech A/S,

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 are 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 improved growth control. However,

this approach implies requirements that

are not fulfilled with the currently existing

sensors, namely those of the ability of

the sensors to function continuously and

stable and with little or no service requirement

in a harsh environment likely to

contaminate the sensors, the ability to

operate wirelessly in order to enable use

of multiple sensors without obstructing

and expensive cabling, and the ability to

do so at a energy consumption level low

enough for powering by energy harvesting,

avoiding the need for recurrent battery


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 taken in terms of

artificial protection and limited positioning

options to compensate for the harsh

environment impact. Moreover, different

sensors are needed for the various environment

parameters. This leaves the sensors

still 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 proximity of the

plants, and the sensors therefore should

be placed amongst the plants, preferably

on a multiple distributed basis, and be

able to withstand close impact from the

various nursing activities while at the same

time not requiring tedious time-and-effort

consuming installation and maintenance

which impede daily work routines and

business. Obtaining these features require

sensors that are really 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

and must communicate their data wire-

lessly in order to facilitate easy and dynamic

positioning and handling.

This all calls for a novel approach to

greenhouse sensors in technology, concept

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


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 CO 2 , 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 nursing activities and

handling and they are specifically designed

for optimum usability and efficiency

in professional greenhouse production



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