ENLIGHTENMENT Pilot Case Introduction

Read the short story of ENLIGHTENMENT Pilot Case lead by CASCADE that was selected through FlexFunction2Sustain Open Call working on the Functionalisation of agricultural films with multi-season fluorescent dye to enhanced plant development.

CASCADE designs & develops luminescent additives integrated in greenhouse plastic films to shift a portion of the sunlight spectrum, little used by plants, into wavelengths most efficiently used for photosynthesis and plant development to improve crop yields and quality. CASCADE brings its innovation by integrating commonly used PE/EVA/PE multilayer greenhouse films with its LIGHT CASCADE® technology. Main bottlenecks of the technology are that the technology is not durable enough and shows fast decay in sunlight. CASCADE already launched on the market one-season limited photoactive additives and has developed an IP protected technology to stabilize its formulations and protect them protection against UV and oxygen by encapsulation process inserting them into a microparticle matrix.

The purpose of ENLIGHTENMENT project is to extend sunlight wavelength conversion capability of CASCADE doped greenhouse films to produce multi-season films that can enhance plant development. This can be done by integrating newly developed CASCADE protected technology into greenhouse films. More than 100 agronomic trials, carried out by CASCADE over past 9 years with its one-season technology have shown significant agronomic benefits that improve the sustainability of crop production systems such as yield gains of 10%, saving of fertilizers and water, precocity, better plant resistance to pest & disease. Moreover, an eco-design approach will be followed to ensure fully recyclable structure based on a mono-material film.

Though CASCADE long-life technology is ready to market, upscaling issues still exist. The dispersion of the microparticles in the film polymer matrix is not straightforward and agglomeration issues are observed, and issues exist regarding the film manufacturing process as some negative effects occurred when extruded at very high temperature. The ENLIGHTENMENT project will be organized around two parts, the compounding process optimization to increase the density particles in different matrices and the upscale of the multilayer films integrating the innovation at TRL7.

In order to execute this Pilot Case, CASCADE is using the combined services of FlexFunction2Sustain consortium partners INL –  International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, IPC – Centre Technique Industriel de la Plasturgie et des Composites.

Stay tuned! Further details on CASCADE Pilot Case development will follow.