Infrascreen receives 100’000 francs from FIT to design agricultural greenhouses of the future
Optimising the productivity of greenhouse cultivation to avoid water waste, the use of chemicals and CO2 emissions, these are the objectives of the start-up Infrascreen. The innovative approach, which makes use of nanotechnologies, is supported by the FIT Tech Seed loan.
What if nanotechnologies could play a role in optimising greenhouse cultivation? This is in any case the promising path pursued by the young company Infrascreen, which is the fruit of collaboration between the PV-centre of the CSEM/EPFL, the Wageningen University & Research and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute. Created in September 2019, the start-up targets the market for sustainable greenhouse fruit and vegetable production. Their main objectives: to improve the current productivity of greenhouses by 15%, to reduce energy needs for heating by 20% and to cut CO2 emissions generated by this activity by 200 tonnes per hectare each year.
To achieve its ambitions, Infrascreen proposes to use nanotechnologies in the aim of manufacturing an innovative material to improve the productivity and impact of agricultural greenhouses. In addition to the increased yield and ecological benefits achieved through its innovative process, the company also intends to lower the operating costs of a greenhouse.
Exploring the potential of nanotechnology in greenhouse farming could allow producers to benefit from precise climate control while maximising the light available for photosynthesis. These are essential aspects which, even today, still need to be improved, since the materials that control infrared rays – the main natural source of heat for the greenhouse – also reflect the light waves that are nevertheless useful for photosynthesis. With nanotechnology, it is now possible to manufacture a material that is transparent to the light waves useful for photosynthesis, while at the same time being able to reflect infrared rays.
Founded by Benoit de Combaud – former founder of CombaGroup, specialised in aeroponautics – and Henri de Lalande – former co-founder of Apparius CF, specialised in fundraising for technological entrepreneurship – Infrascreen is made up of a complete team that can cover both innovative and commercial aspects simultaneously. Also supported by Innosuisse, Venture Kick and the BCN Innovation 2020 Prize, the young company now plans to deploy its pilot prototypes as early as 2021.The FIT Tech Seed loan will also help it to then begin its commercial positioning on the market by 2022. To this end, Infrascreen is also currently conducting a 2 million Swiss Francs fundraising round.
Henri de Lalande
Co-founder and CEO