April 2019

Official project meeting Smart Materials at RKW Hyplast, Belgium, and Mardenkro, The Netherlands

A very inspiring project meeting has taken place at RKW Hyplast in Hoogstraten and at Mardenkro Baarle-Nassu. The group visited the plastid film factory of Hyplast including their new 7-layer film extrusion plant, a modern strawberry grower and the laboratory and production site of Mardenkro.
Newest developments of smart materials were shared by all partners. What might be expected in the future? Almost perfectly diffusive materials with high light transmissivity, insulating materials with high light transmissivity, light intensity switching materials, thermo-, electro- and phototropic materials switching light intensity at higher temperatures, an electric impulse, higher light intensities or a combination of them. Other highlights are antiseptic, easy-to-clean and self-healing coatings. Several co-innovations between different project partners are ongoing. Technical evaluations of materials and also crop physiological experiments are promising.



October 2018

Official project meeting Smart Materials at BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany

The project partners of PPS Smart Materials for greenhouses gathered for an interactive meeting combined with an interesting tour at BASF production site. FME organised a fruitful speed dating session for industry partners in order to stimulate co-innovation between partners. In the meantime new materials have been developed by company partners for horticultural application in order to increase light transmittance (glass, polymers), optimise light diffusion, create high insulation, increase solar heat reflection, create insect barriers with limited air barrier, highly transparant materials for humidity transport,anti-drip materials and last but not least materials with switchable properties triggered thermally or electrically. Application fields are greenhouse systems world-wide depending on the innovation. Targeting crops are high-value food crops and ornamentals. Currently WUR is conducting crop physiological experiments with high diffusion materials and will start experiments on light intensity switching materials soon. TU/e conducts research on the development of new thermally or electrically induced light switching materials.


June 2018

Workshop "Light spectrum" held at WUR Bleiswijk.

All project participants gathered for a one day workshop on effects of light spectrum on crops. Anja Dieleman (WUR) gave an overview of the effect of different light colours on various crops, mainly results gained by LED research. Cecilia Stanghellini (WUR) gave an overview of earlier research on the effect of UV, NIR and fluorescent pigments in coverings. In the afternoon the group visited the Daylight Greenhouse of Ter Laak orchids and learned about the importance of diffuse light for shade tolerant crops and the possibilities of energy saving by Fresnellenses and thermal solar collectors in the greenhouse roof during Phalaenopsis production. During a visit to Anthura the group learned on the importance of constant light conditions at various stages of Anthurium production. The group got inspired for the development of new smart materials. The workshop was co-organised by LTO Glaskracht.


March 2018

Official project meeting Smart Materials on 14-16th March at DOMO lab Saint-Gobain, Paris, France.



January 2018

Scientific publications available

The first scientific publications are available. You can access them via the following links:

Multistate Luminescent Solar Concentrator “Smart” Windows (by Jeroen A. H. P. Sol, Gilles H. Timmermans, Abraham J. van Breugel, Albertus P. H. J. Schenning, Michael G. Debije in Advanced Energy Materials)


Temperature-Responsive Luminescent Solar Concentrators: Tuning Energy Transfer in a Liquid Crystalline Matrix (by Jeroen A. H. P. Sol, Dr. Volker Dehm, Reinhard Hecht, Prof. Dr. Frank Würthner, Prof. Dr. Albertus P. H. J. Schenning, Dr. Michael G. Debije in Angewandte Chemie International Edition)



November 2017

Official project meeting Smart Materials on November, 29th, at Sabic, Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands.

The project partners of PPS Smart Materials for greenhouses had another fruitful meeting combined with an interesting lab tour at Sabic. In the meantime many existing materials have been screened by WUR in the laboratory and several new materials are currently under development by the company partners for horticultural application. Topics for material development are e.g. light transmittance, light diffusion, high insulation with new technologies, new polymers, new insect and shading netting technologies, heat reflection, humidity control by foils, membranes and coatings,  materials with switchable properties triggered by temperature or electrical. Application fields are greenhouse systems world-wide depending on the innovation. Targeting crops are high-value food crops and ornamental. Networking of different partners plays an important role in the project. First ideas for co-creation have already been developed between partners. Growers might expect new ways of controlling the crop environment in the future.



September 2017

2nd Workshop Technical requirements for Smart Materials on September, 20th, at Fujifilm Innovation Hub, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

The second workshop on smart materials has been held with the projectteam consisting of commercial and R&D members of participating companies and knowledge institutes. A study was presented by WUR exploring the opportunities of smart greenhouse covering materials with switchable filters allowing for the instantaneous modification of relevant optical properties of the cover. Greenhouse simulation models have been modified andnused in the study to explore the potential effect on microclimate, use of resources and crop growth and development. Until recently, the only possibility to modify the amount and quality of the light reaching the crop in a greenhouse was the use of temporary coatings (i.e. whitewash) or screens/netting (fixed or mobile, internal or external). Nowadays and in the near future, new filters are being developed that allow for almost instantaneous change of relevant optical properties directly in the cover where the filter is added. This allows an optimization of the amount and quality of the light entering the greenhouse instantaneous induced by different triggers and can be applied for different crops and regions in the world. Different switchable filters were compared in the study, different climate regions and greenhouse types were analysed to analyse the potentials of smart materials compared with existing solutions. Next to that, first switchable materials have been produced by TU/e and were presented on the workshop. Materials were either switchable on an electric voltage or on temperature change. Again, a very creative brainstorm session has been held with the group resulting in new ideas and solutions for smart materials for greenhouses.


June 2017

First materials arrived for testing of optical properties and thermal insulation properties in our WUR Lightlab in Wageningen on June, 10th


May 2017

Workshop Requirements and Markets for Smart Materials on May, 10th, at Bleiswijk, The Netherlands. 

A informative and creative workshop on has been held with 30 members of the projectteam. Commercial and R&D members of participating companies came from all over the world to join the meeting. They discussed and brainstormed together with researchers on new smart materials of greenhouses. High-tech industry learnt about requirements of crops and greenhouses, horticultural industry learnt about possibilities of new materials for greenhouses. We shared information on market trends and drivers and discussed on the development of greenhouse horticulture worldwide. We shared information on the function of a greenhouse, important growth factors for crop production and challenges for production in different climate zones worldwide. Specific attention has been paid to the brainstorm on new smart materials for greenhouses in cold climates (e.g. The Netherlands), mild winter climates (e.g. Mediterranean), tropical climates (e.g. South America) and desert climates (e.g. Middle-East). We discussed on new solutions for light, temperature and humidity management for future greenhouses. The group visited several research greenhouses at WUR in Bleiswijk, a Chinese Solar greenhouse, lettuce on hyproponics in a plastic multi-tunnel and the Winterlight greenhouse with the latest developments on the field of smart glass, coatings, greenhouse construction and crop management. During the visit the group exchanged creatie ideas on new materials for different technology levels and crops. During the workshop the group could network and make new contacts.




February 2017

Kick-off meeting on February, 22nd, at Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Projectteam (left to right front): Jeroen Sol, Silke Hemming, Lucie Paulet, Gilles Timmermans, Willem van Baak, Waldemar Szczepanic, Cecilia Stanghellini, Lian Zhang, Tobias Hintermann, Estelle Cheret, Leo Oprel. (left to right back): Michael Debije, Bonny Heeren, Marcel van Haren, Ralf Derksen, Bram van Breugel, Michiel van Spronssen, Reinhardt Tag, Roel Weijers, Marc Ruijs, Chris Maas, Alex van Rijn



December 2016

Project granted, first presentation during Agrifood Tech Platform conference in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, on December, 14th, in presence of State Secretary Martijn van Dam of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.