By installing greenhouses on the flat roofs of buildings, it is possible to reduce our CO2 emissions while at the same time using the heat loss from the buildings to heat these greenhouses. The result: vegetables grown in the heart of our cities.
The GROOF (Greenhouses to Reduce CO2 on Roofs) project is based on this principle. With the support of Interreg North-West Europe, Wallonia (Belgium) and the University, some fifteen partners have been studying the potential of rooftop greenhouses since 2017. The cultural, architectural, economic and energy aspects are being considered by these professionals with complementary expertise.
In Gembloux, the roof of the TERRA research centre (Univeristy of Liège) is already making it possible to promote this innovative production system.
Gardening and horticulture
At the heart of the 5 hectares of the WASABI project, a 550 ares plot is dedicated to agroforestry, permaculture, SPIN farming (or intensive market gardening) and training. Since 2020, trials have been carried out to highlight the performance of these new production methods. The results will be made available to scientists from various background and disciplines.
Sapristi (System Aquaponics and Pilot for Research and Innovation in Science and for Transfer to Industry) is the name of a modular aquaponics system that allows research to be carried out on a pilot industrial scale. This system is being studied as part of the Smart Aquaponics project. Since 2018, a dozen of organizations with complementary expertise intend to reproduce the different types of professional aquaponics systems for an ever-growing public interest. With the support of Interreg France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen, the Provinces of West and East Flanders, and the C-RAU (Centre de Recherches en Agriculture Urbaine Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech ULiège), various tools will be developed. For instance: an interactive application that will introduce its users to the reality of aquaponics: Smart Aquaponics.
The OptiBiomass project aims to optimise the production of horticultural biomass on a semi-industrial scale. Plants such as hemp and euphorbia are grown in greenhouses or in growth chambers to analyse molecules of interest. These molecules are of interest for the pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical industry. The soilless production of these crops could also contribute to the rehabilitation of industrial wasteland.
The OptiBiomass project was launched in 2017 with the support of the En Mieux investment fund. It is part of the Tropical Plant Factory research program.
The Phytopathology Unit of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège) has set up a prototype of PAFF Box (Plant And Fish Farming). It is an aquaponic system, i.e. it combines aquaculture and hydroponics. In this sytem, fish(tilapia), are farmed in a container. Just above this container, a greenhouse has been built where vegetables are grown in hydroponic system. The aquaculture effluent from the fish compartment is pumped out so that the nutrients can fertilize the plants in the greenhouse.