Watergy 2004 project
Technological innovation in the Spanish horticultural industry and in the construction of greenhouses has been developing for years at the highest international level.
Watergy was a research project, developed in 2004 within the V Framework Program of the European Union, “Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Program”, in which companies and entities such as the Cajamar Experimental Station participated, under the coordination of Guillermo Zaragoza, the greenhouse construction company Inverca, the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands Systems and Control Group, Agriculture and Food Innovations Ltd., The Netherlands and Clina Heating and Cooling Elements GmbH from Germany.
The operation of Watergy as a greenhouse, built by Inverca at the Cajamar “Las Palmerillas” Experimental Station in the province of Almería (Spain), was a closed greenhouse prototype composed of a four-element system; a solar tower, a heat exchanger, a greenhouse and a fermentation reactor (it was not included in this prototype).
Basically, during the day, the heat exchanger cools the air inside the tower and it descends back into the greenhouse. During this process, on the one hand, distilled water is obtained, which condensed in the heat exchanger and was recovered. And on the other hand, the heat collected by the hot water also accumulated in a water tank outside the greenhouse. This cooled the water in the heat accumulator and could be used later for night-time cooling or even the next day, if necessary.
2004 was a challenge for Inverca, as we had to adapt to a prototype design where we worked together with the product designers to develop this prototype greenhouse, which in turn allowed it to be industrialized at the end of its development. Each of the design principles, from its cultivation structure to the solar tower, passing through the structures for collecting water from condensation, had to be studied and designed for this occasion.