Company | Competencies

Larissa Gilke

Webinar in Wageningen aids with WUR Challenge

Students on a quest for a sustainable growing medium

How can we ensure that urban populations are supplied on a regional basis with fresh fruit and vegetables, and that this food is produced sustainably? This is the task now facing 23 international teams of students. So what are the key criteria when choosing a growing medium? Sebastian Kipp of Klasmann-Deilmann showed them just that – in a webinar.

blankTwenty-three international teams of students have been tasked with designing an urban greenhouse, and in an unlikely place – the tower of the former Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam. This Challenge has been set by the University of Wageningen, and Klasmann-Deilmann is supporting this competition in the role of a ‘Silver Sponsor’. “We’re keen to see what visions emerge and are looking forward to the opportunity of working with the participating teams in a separate Challenge,” says Sebastian Kipp (Advisory Services + Quality Management). “The students’ assignment is to develop the growing media of the future.”

A key element in the design of this greenhouse is selecting a growing system and, in this connection, a substrate as well. This medium needs to have good water uptake and storage capacity, the pH level must be ideally tailored to the crop, it should be free of weeds, and hygiene is also a big factor when cultivating vegetables, herbs and fruit.

blankSebastian Kipp informed the students about all this in a detailed webinar given at Wageningen University. What substrate constituents are there and which additives have proven effective? What role does pH play? And what exactly is nitrogen fixation?

Now they have a basic grounding in the topic, the students face the challenge of developing an innovative substrate for plant growth. The aim: a medium that ensures high yields yet consists of sustainable, biodegradable raw materials. The clock is now ticking: the students have until the end of August to submit their entry. And the winning team can look forward to a 1,000 euro prize.

This award is one of three (for growing media, architecture and future food supplies) that together make up the WUR Challenge, which focuses on the future of growing systems. The team with the most promising overall concept will receive 10,000 euros in prize money to move their idea forward.

Readers keen to see for themselves Sebastian Kipp’s full webinar presentation in Wageningen can do so


Klasmann-Deilmann’s Incubator team is also putting a lot of effort into developing new substrate constituents and innovative growing systems. Students for whom the WUR Challenge does not quench their thirst for this research area can contact our Incubator team at the following e-mail address: .