Ag-tech innovator Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX:ROO) continues to test its disruptive root zone cooling technology on new crops, releasing results from a successful pilot on greenhouse-grown chives.
Roots’ patented Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) cooling system was used to stabilise the temperature of the chives roots, which increased crop yield by 257 percent during the pilot.
Cooled chives plants had an average fresh weight of 268g, compared to an average weight of 75g for non-cooled plants replication. In addition, the cooled chives plants continued to grow for 55 days, while the control crop virtually stopped growing after four weeks.
The pilot was conducted during the Israeli summer from August through to October at Roots’ research site in central Israel. A traditional cool climate crop, high temperatures normally significantly impact chives harvest production and crop quality.
Roots’ RZTO technology mitigates external weather conditions through a closed-loop system of pipes. The lower coils are installed at a depth where soil temperature is stable and unaffected by weather extremes while the upper part of the system is installed in the crop’s root zone just below the soil surface. The cooled (or heated) water is pumped through and discharged using the pipes installed in the root zone.
Using the hybrid ground source heat exchange version of Roots’ RZTO system, the roots of chives crops were cooled to remain relatively stable around 25 degrees centigrade despite air temperatures in the greenhouse frequently topping 36 degrees. In comparison, roots of control plantings fluctuated between 27 and 31 degrees.
All data collected is sent to the cloud where readings on the centrifugal pumps, heating and cooling pumps, headers as well as roots, air and ground temperatures can be monitored in real time from PCs or smart devices.
Roots CEO, Dr Sharon Devir said its RZTO system is the only commercial two-in-one cooling and heating technology in the market.
The world needs this new type of thinking and use of technology to address environmental challenges brought on by ecosystem degradation and pollution, reduced access to water, more severe weather conditions and higher energy prices. RZTO improves production efficiency and increases yields to optimise use of arable land for the world’s farmers.
“These results further demonstrate the effectiveness of our proprietary RZTO cooling technology in significantly increasing crop yield while also extending growing cycles of plants that typically require cooler climates”.
“Our RZTO cooling technology complements our root zone heating systems, providing farmers in areas affected by weather extremes with a two-in-one year-round solution.”
“Pilots and proof of concepts are incredibly important in the agri-tech sector and are essential for generating sales in new segments. Results on a variety of crops, environments and growing conditions validate the versatility of our technology and allow us to begin discussions with a broader target market.”
The latest cooling pilot follows successful testing on lettuce as well as promising interim results on medicinal cannabis.