HypoWave+ – Implementation of a hydroponic system for sustainable water reuse in agriculture

Regional competitions over the resource water are not uncommon. Due to climate change, urbanization and pollution of water resources, these conflicts of use could intensify in the coming decades. Even in Germany that is rich in water, conflicts of use are becoming more frequent. This is why new concepts and processes for water reuse are needed. In the BMBF research project HypoWave, hydroponic plant production using water reuse was piloted for the first time between 2016 and 2020. In the HypoWave+ project, the research network in the Gifhorn region is supporting the large-scale implementation of a hydroponic system using water reuse. On a cultivation area of one hectare, approximately 600–700 tons of vegetables are to be produced annually.

Research approach

The aim of the transdisciplinary research network is to establish a new form of regional vegetable production. Based on the results of the HypoWave research project, farmers in the Gifhorn region decided to establish a company that produces hydroponically grown vegetables. HypoWave+ accompanies this project scientifically and investigates open questions in the areas of water treatment, vegetable production, intelligent process control, quality management and institutional arrangements. The aim is to further develop the marketability of hydroponically produced vegetables by means of environmentally friendly water recycling with the aim of applying it at other locations as well. 

Within the framework of HypoWave+, the ISOE team is particularly concerned with integrated quality management which stands for a holistic view of the process that begins with water treatment and ends with the sale of the produced vegetables. In addition, ISOE is working on institutional issues in the context of implementation and is working together with local stakeholders on questions of cooperation and acceptance. The quality of the process chain is another important topic in this context. Furthermore, by taking over the project coordination, ISOE is responsible for the quality of the transdisciplinary work within the project team as well as for knowledge transfer.

Background

Climate change, urbanization and the pollution of conventional water resources will in the coming decades lead to rising regional competition over the use of the increasingly scarce water resources. At the same time, there is a growing demand for regional vegetables that are produced in a resource-efficient way. For irrigation in agriculture, environmentally friendly water recycling can serve to increase the water supply. So far, there has been no large-scale implementation of the piloted HypoWave concept. This task is now being addressed in the follow-up project HypoWave+. 

Project partners

  • Institute for Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
  • University of Hohenheim
  • IseBauern GmbH & Co.  KG
  • Wasserverband Gifhorn
  • Abwasserverband Braunschweig
  • aquatune GmbH, a Xylem brand
  • Ankermann GmbH & Co. KG
  • Huber SE
  • INTEGAR – Institut für Technologien im Gartenbau GmbH

Funding

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project “HypoWave+ – Implementation of a Hydroponic System as a Sustainable Innovation for Resource-Efficient Agricultural Water Reuse” within the funding measure “Water Technologies: Water Reuse” as part of the federal research program on water “Wasser: N”. Wasser: N contributes to the BMBF “Research for Sustainability” (FONA) Strategy.

Duration

2021/02 – 2024/01