Industrial implementation of a biodegradable and compostable flat micro-irrigation system for agricultural application
November 1st, 2013 – October 31st, 2015
DRIUS is the continuation of a previous project called HYDRUS (FP7/2007-2013-Grant Agreement 231975), where new biodegradable micro-irrigation pipes were developed and satisfactorily manufactured in industrial extrusion lines. The main focus of the present project is to manufacture biodegradable drippers by injection to obtain the complete system.
The material and the geometry of drippers are important to have the water flow required in the different crops. The material adjusted for the drippers needs to be processable by injection, chemically compatible and weldable with the pipes and will maintain its shape and functionality during the use of the micro-irrigation systems in the field.
The specific role of AIMPLAS in the project will be to optimize the suitable material for drippers to make possible the industrialization of the micro-irrigation system. Extruline Systems will be responsible for manufacturing the complete micro-irrigation system (pipes and drips) at industrial level. Metzerplas is going to design the new moulds and will be the injector for flat drippers. Lastly, OWS will carry out the complete study of biodegradation and compostability in order to obtain the compostability logo.
The main applications of the system to be developed in DRIUS will be crops of small plants such as strawberries and tomatoes with short periods of cultivations, less than a year. Currently, the problem after the crop period is the difficulty in the recycling of the irrigation system because of the mix of plastic with plants and soil, so the common solution is the burning of the waste generated. However, the new compostable system will make possible to treat the waste in a composting plant. The pictures below give an idea on the environmental impact of micro-irrigation residues that remains on the field and demonstrate the need of proper waste treatment.
AIMPLAS (Spain), Extruline Systems (Spain), Metzerplas (Israel) and OWS (Belgium)
Coordinator and biodegradability/compostability testing
Mr. Steven Verstichel