In Europe cultivation in plastic greenhouses has permitted the conversion of apparently unproductive farmland into modern agriculture holdings. Different types of plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polycarbonate (PC) and low density polyethylene (LDPE), are commonly used for covering greenhouse structures.
However, most of the plastic polymer films are prone to photo degradation when exposed to UV radiation (290-400 nm) or even visible radiation (400-700 nm). In warm regions, the combination of UV radiation with agro-chemical agents used in the greenhouses aggravates the problem of plastic cover degradation substantially. Durability is one of the aspects that most interest and concern end users. Therefore, the manufacture of plastics resistant to treatments performed in greenhouses is one of the current battlefields, where products such as sulphur and, chlorine which are used to control pests, have become the greatest enemies of the farmer. Sulphur is especially aggressive and the current method of application has a great impact on the degradation of films used as cover in the aforementioned greenhouses.
The GREENAVOID project aims to develop an innovative integrated solution that combines a new formulated film of polyethylene resistant to UV degradation in the presence of burning sulphur with an improved design of sulphur vaporizer that minimizes the amount of product that reaches the inner greenhouse cover.
This integrated solution aims to achieve an agricultural film with 3 years warranty in the presence of sulphur and under light radiation of 145-150 KlAngleys/year (average radiation in southern Europe). In addition, this film aims to be resistant to concentrations of 3500ppm sulphur and 250 ppm of chlorine in plastic, with a minimum of 85% PAR transmittance and UV blocking. The impact of the integrated solution GREENAVOID will be high in the EU considering, not only the total revenue generated by the SMEs, but also the savings in plastic for the end-user (the farmer) the savings in energy for polyethylene production and also the reduction of imports from China.