19/01/2024 | Switzerland

Revolutionizing agriculture with AEROponics: BIG Interview with Bruno Cheval

CleanGreens Solutions is a pioneering Swiss company specializing in AEROponics within greenhouses. Their distinctive farming system reflects a dedication to addressing challenges in food production, including water scarcity, land depletion, pesticide use, and resource overconsumption. Designed to grow a diverse array of crops, such as leafy greens and aromatic herbs, year-round and in any climate, CleanGreens Solutions has been at the forefront of AEROponics in greenhouses since 2013.

In this interview with Bruno Cheval, the CEO of CleanGreens Solutions, we explore the company's journey and vision for a future where AEROponics becomes a standard practice, fostering resilient and profitable agriculture.

Fructidor: "Could you provide a concise overview of CleanGreens Solutions and its mission in the field of AEROponics?"

Bruno Cheval: "CleanGreens Solutions addresses critical challenges in food production by offering a unique AEROponic farming system. Since 2013, we have been pioneering AEROponics in greenhouses, providing a sustainable solution for growing various crops year-round. Our mission is to establish AEROponics as a standard in every greenhouse, promoting resilient and profitable agriculture."

Fructidor: "What inspired the development of AEROponics, and how does it differ from traditional farming methods?"

Bruno Cheval: "While there are familiar methods like vertical farming or HYDROponics, our focus is on AEROponics. Our GREENOVA system is soilless, with roots suspended in the air. Imagine a 7000m2 greenhouse in the desert producing crops year-round, saving 96% of water compared to traditional methods. AEROponics, with its separate root system, reduces phytosanitary risks and offers consistent, high-quality plants."

Fructidor: "How does AEROponics work, and what advantages does it offer over traditional soil-based farming and hydroponics?"

Bruno Cheval: "AEROponics involves growing plants with roots in the air, nourishing them by spraying water and nutrients. Our GREENOVA system has unique features, including movable modules and a rolling robot spraying roots from below. This setup reduces phytosanitary risks, saves water, and ensures homogeneity and quality plants through high oxygenation."

Fructidor: "What led CleanGreens Solutions to focus specifically on developing aeroponics technology?"

Bruno Cheval: "CleanGreens Solutions is driven by a commitment to solving real challenges in agriculture. We work closely with agronomic experts and growers to ensure our technology meets their needs. Our focus on AEROponics in greenhouses is a result of over 7 years of continuous development and improvement, guided by transparency and collaboration with our team of engineers and automation experts."

Fructidor: "Could you explain the AEROponics process in more detail?"

Bruno Cheval: "Our AEROponics process involves seeding, nursery, module management, plantation, plant growth, and harvesting. With automated systems, modules can be moved, and a rolling robot ensures roots are consistently sprayed. The process ensures efficient circulation, reduces contamination risks, and promotes the overall health of plants."

Fructidor: "How does CleanGreens Solutions ensure precise water and nutrient delivery to plants?"

Bruno Cheval: "Our system provides everything plants need for controlled growth. The roots hang in darkness, ensuring healthy oxygen intake. Water and nutrients are precisely sprayed by a rolling robot, meeting the specific requirements of each plant in a controlled environment."

Fructidor: "How does CleanGreens Solutions achieve zero pesticides, and what are the implications for food safety?"

Bruno Cheval: "AEROponics eliminates the need for pesticides by growing in a controlled environment without soil. The harvested product is ready to eat, and while we don't carry an organic label due to soil cultivation requirements (basically because we grow soilless), our system ensures zero pesticide use, contributing to food safety."

Fructidor: "How do you see AEROponics shaping the future of agriculture, and what role does CleanGreens Solutions aim to play in this transformation?"

Bruno Cheval: "AEROponics, particularly our system, is positioned as a superior solution. We aim to differentiate ourselves from other practices, ensuring everyone understands the efficiency and benefits of AEROponics. While supporting colleagues in the industry, we believe AEROponics, especially with our revolutionary approach, will contribute significantly to the future of agriculture."

Fructidor: "Are there specific crops that benefit most from the aeroponics approach?"

Bruno Cheval: "Our AEROponic system is versatile, supporting the growth of over 100 leafy green plants and 100 aromatic herbs. Lettuces, especially Romaine lettuces, basil, spinach, and baby leaf plants thrive with our technology. Ongoing research and development allow us to explore new variants and remain open to different species."

Fructidor: "What challenges has CleanGreens Solutions encountered in implementing AEROponics on a larger scale, and how have you addressed them?"

Bruno Cheval: "Our system is designed for large-scale installations, as demonstrated by a 7000m2 greenhouse in Kuwait. Scalability challenges have been addressed by showcasing our installations to interested parties. As we continue to develop innovative technology, scalability remains a focus to have a significant impact on global food production."

Fructidor: "Are there ongoing research and development efforts to enhance the efficiency and scalability of AEROponics?"

Bruno Cheval: "Certainly! Our R&D section in Switzerland constantly explores improvements to our system. Recent upgrades, such as transitioning to flat modules, highlight our commitment to efficiency, sun exposure, reduced mechanical work, and space efficiency. Continuous learning and improvement are integral to our approach."

Fructidor: "How has the market responded to CleanGreens Solutions' AEROponic technology?"

Bruno Cheval: "The response has been very positive. While initial perceptions might categorize us as another modern farming company, explaining our commitment to environmental care and resource savings garners genuine interest. People appreciate our focus on problem-solving with minimal impact and maximum gain."

Fructidor: "Are there any partnerships or collaborations established to promote the adoption of AEROponics?"

Bruno Cheval: "We initially collaborated directly with farmers for R&D and proof-of-concept. With successful installations in Europe and the Middle East, partnerships with companies like 'Les Crudettes' in France and 'Green Life' in the Middle East have paved the way for broader collaborations. We believe in working together with various industry partners for effective and efficient farm development."

Fructidor: "Can you share any upcoming projects, innovations, or goals?"

Bruno Cheval: "Our goal is to make AEROponics a widely adopted practice for greenhouses globally. While specifics on upcoming projects remain under wraps, we are actively developing technology and assisting farmers in its utilization. Stay tuned for exciting developments!"

Fructidor: "How do you picture the evolution of AEROponics and CleanGreens Solutions' role in the next few years?"

Bruno Cheval: "We foresee AEROponics gaining popularity in the coming years, especially with our innovations. AEROponics, once considered costlier, is becoming more efficient, offering healthier, tastier, and cleaner greens. As a company, we aim to be at the forefront of this sunrise in AEROponics. Participation in industry events and our commitment to ongoing revolution set the stage for a promising future."

Fructidor: "How do you see AEROponics contributing to global food security and addressing agricultural challenges?"

Bruno Cheval: "AEROponics, like other Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) methods, bridges the gap between global food needs and the limitations of open-field agriculture. It offers a resource-efficient way to grow food locally, regardless of climate or land conditions. AEROponics is a crucial component in securing food for countries dependent on imports."

Fructidor: "Is there anything extra you want to share with us?"

Bruno Cheval: "Absolutely! Creating real change in our planet's ecology requires decisive actions. While not everyone can invest in large-scale plant production, spreading awareness about us, following us on social media, and sharing this interview costs nothing and contributes to the future of food production. Thank you for your time. Ready to grow unique? Call us!"

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