ZEro-imPact innovative tecHnologY in foRest plant production

Programme: FP7

Duration: From 2012-10-01 to 2015-11-30,

Total cost: EUR 4.284.275, EU contribution: EUR 3.438.252

Consortium: 14 partners from 10 different EU Countries

Role of Veltha Proposal preparation, Co-Coordinator in charge of the engineering management and financial management, Dissemination and Exploitation

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The Zephyr project has developed a new, zero-impact growth chamber for forest regeneration material: a sustainable controlled environment where forest plants can grow, starting from the seeds, in a robotized nursery assistant. The continuous movement of trays with “mini-plugs” (Very small container plants in containers less than 37 cm3 in volume) guarantees an average environment (light, temperature and humidity) equal for each plant almost impossible to be obtained with ordinary growth chambers.
Key components of the new system include a rotating set of trays under an array of LED lamps, a robotic arm equipped with a camera, and wireless micro-sensors that keep tabs on the plants.
Forest plants need very specific conditions for ensuring seed germination and then an adequate growth with strong roots: providing these conditions is the only way to preserve biodiversity, as plants produced from cuttings are essentially clones.