Post-graduate student of the Azovo-Chernomorsky Engineering Institute Maxim Popov designed and built an energy-saving greenhouse autonomous from utility networks in Zernograd. Such complexes are called biovegetaria. They allow you to grow different crops in the greenhouse throughout the year. Such technologies are just beginning to be used in agriculture and have not yet received wide distribution.
Now the greenhouse built by Maxim Popov is being tested. It began to grow microgreens and traditional greens. According to Maxim, the harvest is good and already brings income.
Maxim Popov, a scientist and aspiring entrepreneur, was persuaded to start developing high-tech greenhouses by his supervisor. Maxim did not want to study greenhouses, but, having listened to the advice of his colleagues, he tried and became interested in the topic.
– Even in the magistracy, they agitated me to do greenhouses, but I didn’t, I didn’t have a soul for this. Then I entered graduate school, my supervisor offered to do greenhouses, I agreed. Well, let’s go. We began to slowly write scientific articles, to accumulate material and came to the development of a bio-vegetarian.
In 2019, Maxim won the Umnik competition and received a grant from the Innovation Promotion Fund in the amount of 500 thousand rubles, which allowed him to transfer the project from drawings to life. On his site in Zernograd, Maxim built the first sample of a greenhouse.
Bio-vegetarian greenhouses differ from ordinary greenhouses in that they operate autonomously from utility networks and can provide heat all year round. Solar energy is converted into electrical energy using photovoltaic modules. To provide water supply, a well is made under the vegetation. Water from it is pumped into tanks installed near the greenhouse. Another advantage of bio-vegetation over traditional greenhouses is the presence of a northern insulated wall, which reduces heat loss in cold weather.
The main feature of bio-vegetation is the system of storage and accumulation of heat in the soil. Expanded polystyrene is placed at a depth of about 50 cm. A layer of sand and gravel mixture is poured, heat supply circuits are mounted, then another layer of the mixture is laid, concrete is poured, a layer of soil is poured on top.
In ordinary greenhouses, when a high temperature rises during the warm time of the day, the windows open and intensive ventilation begins. In bio-vegetarians, the heat flow is directed not to the street, but under the soil into concrete. When it gets cold, the concrete gives off heat, from the subsoil system, the flow is redirected upward.
Now an experimental sample of biovegetaria is being tested. For the second year, about 20 varieties of microgreens and classic greens are grown there.
Greenhouses are designed for farming settlements, where there is a central power supply, but communications are not carried out in the fields. Creation of a bio-vegetarian allows you to save on connecting networks and heating a greenhouse. According to Maksim, when the frost reached -23 °C in winter, it was +13 °C in the greenhouse. Despite the advantages of a vegetarian plant, it is difficult to launch a business for their production and bring the project to the market. Maxim Popov does not plan to sell such greenhouses now. Demand is likely to be low. In the current crisis situation, everyone is trying to save money, so they will choose a traditional greenhouse, the cost of which is several times less. In addition, it will take at least 5 years to test a vegetarian plant, ideally it should be tested from 10 to 15 years. The technology of creation should be clearly spelled out, all errors identified at the design stage are eliminated, Maxim notes:
— I built the greenhouse myself, with some help from friends and family. Somewhere they did it askew, made mistakes, got out the shortcomings that need to be corrected and redone.
Its founder plans to use the greenhouse for the development of his own agriculture. Maxim has already created and promotes the Max Greenhouse brand, under which he sells products grown in a greenhouse. You can plant anything in the vegetation, even potatoes, Maxim Popov jokes:
– Here it is necessary to approach from the point of view of economic feasibility. The growing season of tomato is 3 months, spinach, arugula, kale – 21 days. Therefore, we focused on greenery, and people take it well, the demand is good.
Now the implementation is mainly through social networks. In the plans for the near future – the conclusion of contracts with restaurants and cafes. About 600 thousand rubles were invested in the creation of the greenhouse, 500 thousand of which were a grant, 100 thousand were the founder’s own funds. The project has already begun to pay off and generate income. For two years, Maxim managed to recapture about 25-30% of investments. In the summer, he plans to expand the area of his farm and build a second vegetarian unit.