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Agriculture and Industry

Agriculture

AnaEE's research facilities conduct studies on all types of ecosystems, such as grassland, agricultural land, peatland, unmanaged and managed forests and freshwater aquatic ecosystems. The facilities are spread over all main European climates - from the subarctic to the Mediterranean and tropical zones.

The AnaEE-ERIC research facilities develop expertise within agricultural management practices, such as tillage and rotation effects on crop production.

Our open-air facilities allow the researchers to develop expertise and knowledge related to: 

  • Land-use change effects related to afforestation.
  • Fertility building practices in conventional and organic farming.
  • Agricultural management practices (tillage and rotation effects on crop production, weed and pest development, greenhouse gas emissions, soil health.
  • Effects of using biochar on crops.
  • Integrated pest management of Mediterranean fruit and vegetable crops.
  • Monitoring of GHG emissions and nutrient flow in subsurface drainage water.

Several agro-ecosystems facilities are already used to test management methods and can be used to test the acceptability, or the validity of new policies, especially within the context of the global climatic change. Enclosed facilities, such as Ecotrons, can simulate future climatic conditions, including elevated CO2 concentrations, even in the more extreme scenarios.

With our enclosed facilities, we have the capacity to study:

  • Impact of global changes on plants and agro-ecosystems, such as yield, quality of the production, carbon storage, greenhouse gas mitigation, maintenance of the soil fertility, soil microbial biodiversity.
  • Impacts of climate extremes  such as drought, heat, heavy precipitation.
  • Effects of elevated CO2 concentration, in combination with other environmental drivers, such as UV radiation, and drought.
  • Measurement of evapotranspiration by weight loss and the fluxes of the major greenhouse gases.
  • Effect of agricultural management on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Dynamics of root and shoot responses related to carbon sequestration.
  • Seedling production and forest regeneration methods to ensure carbon sequestration in silviculture in the changing climate.

Industry

Technology plays a crucial role in conducting experiments and measuring ecosystem responses. To ensure facilities are equipped with the latest tools and techniques, AnaEE focuses on staying updated with cutting-edge technologies through technological watches and collaborations with private companies. The AnaEE Technology Centre leads the development and sharing of new technology knowledge, connecting scientific demands for ecosystem science instruments with innovative ideas from the green economy.

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Percentage of projects from industry across facilities. Data from an internal survey, 2019.

Through technology foresight workshops, experts from various scientific and industrial backgrounds will collaborate to explore advancements in instrumentation. These workshops will draw upon expertise from fields such as physics, chemistry, and informatics, as well as from areas where instrumentation is more advanced, like medicine and space science, to enhance our research and innovation capabilities.

AnaEE aims to drive innovation in two ways: first, by identifying solutions to specific technical needs from users (demand driven), and second, by sharing innovative ideas generated internally or externally with potential users.

The demand driven innovation will be initiated at the technology foresight workshops, where the most promising direction for innovative instruments will be determined. The development of new instruments will be done either in national facilities or in partner labs were the technology is mastered or together with private companies. The technology centre will implement the needed technological developments by establishing contacts between relevant scientists, laboratories and industries, also in other markets and applications.

Our platforms are also open for testing by external innovations. With diverse environmental conditions and technical setups, it's ideal for trying out new technologies. As a key player in the European ecosystem-science community, AnaEE helps connect innovators with potential users and spreads the word about tested technologies.

Examples of collaboration of AnaEE with the industry

AnaEE facilities in the Czech Republic were used in collaboration with the Czech company GISAT s.r.o. for the development, testing and validation of remote sensing methods on estimating the impact of climatic conditions (mainly drought and heat stress) and nitrogen availability on crops biophysical parameters (chlorophyll content, nitrogen status, leaf area index, above-ground biomass, grain yield, protein content in grain).

Developed approaches are based on new spectral reflectance indices, radiation transfer model and machine learning methods. The products are currently used by both agriculture and by the government to increase the use of precision farming technologies, reduce the impact of climate change on agricultural production and reduce the risk of environmental pollution by nitrogen leaching and pesticide residues.

AnaEE experimental as well as analytical facilities in the Czech Republic (Flying laboratory of imaging spectroscopy) were used in collaboration with the Czech company Gryf HB spol. s.r.o. to develop a new type of active on-line spectro-radiometric sensor based on red-edge wavelengths for simultaneous estimation of biomass and nitrogen status. This sensor is independent of the changing incident solar radiation as it uses a modulated LED light. The prototypes were successfully tested and the commercial production of sensors is ready.

The long-term agricultural experimental AnaEE facilities in the Czech Republic served as testbed for the development of new technologies of Biochar activation and carbon sequestration by biochar application with the Czech biochar industry (company AIVOTEC s.r.o). The technology of biochar composting is currently the most promising method of biochar activation, which provides benefits for growers and mitigation of climate change (carbon storage in soil).

In Denmark, the Brandbjerg experimental facility was used for development and testing of a novel technology, i.e. an automated chamber for both light and dark measurements of greenhouse gas exchange between the ecosystem and the atmosphere. The first prototype came out of the EU-infrastructure project INCREASE, but it was further developed and commercialized by two companies, of which one was a direct spinoff (Larsen Environmental ApS).

It is now available through the Danish company DMR+Prenart Equipment (www.prenart.dk/eco2-flux/) and AnaEE Denmark has facilitated its usage now also at two agricultural Danish AnaEE facilities.

In Finland, the Suonenjoki experimental facility (research nursery) was used to develop and test novel technologies in container seedling production. These developed technologies are now used in Finnish commercial nurseries. The developed technologies included the use of different wavelengths of light in controlling the growth of seedlings and the treatment of seedlings after cold storage in preparing for planting.

In France the SME Cesbron company, which manufactures cold chambers and chillers for the food industry, was engaged in the prototyping and construction of the new climate chambers at the Ecotron Ile de France. Thanks to the expertise gained (four EU patents were registered) and the skills developed, it supplies now the horticulture sector with growth chambers.

Lumartix, a company specialized in test benches for the qualification of photovoltaic cells or light appliances for the cinema and events industry, has developed in collaboration with AnaEE-France light appliances for the horticulture sector that can resist in tropical atmospheres, opening a significant market for this company.

Submitted on June 25, 2020

Updated on April 26, 2024