Swedish TRANSFORM Project researchers at Lund University in Sweden have begun hydroponic hop growing experiments on-site with project industry partner, Brygghuset Finn. The experimentation is a part of efforts to directly collaborate with regional small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote a local, circular, and more sustainable economy. More specifically, the collaboration targets ways that sustainability researchers can work together with the regional craft beer sector, including brewers, ingredient suppliers, and industry organizations, in southern Sweden to experiment with and promote a sustainable transformation in the sector. Activities so far have included the co-creation of sustainability principles for SMEs in the sector, and the hop growing. The sustainability transformations research is part of other similar collaborative efforts with craft beer sectors by other TRANSFORM Hubs including at the University of Waterloo, Arizona State University and Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany.
The hydroponic hop growing system uses no soil; instead, hops are planted directly in clay balls, which are nourished by nutrient rich water. In addition, TRANSFORM researchers are also testing a control system of the same hop varieties grown in soil. Both growing systems are located in a greenhouse built on the backside of the brewery where waste heat and excess carbon dioxide from the on-site beer production to heat the greenhouse and augment hop growth.
“The goal is to test if it is possible to grow hops hydroponically, inside, and year-round, with the characteristics and consistency brewers are looking for in their hops. Furthermore, if successful, we will examine scaling potentials of the innovation, all while maintaining ‘hyperlocal’ production capacities” says TRANSFORM Researcher, Barry Ness.
The research and collaboration contribute to multiple TRANSFORM Project objectives, including contributions to the database on sustainability transformations for SMEs, insights for increasing capacity-building with small business, actual sustainability experimentation with SMEs, and contributions to broader strategies for accelerating sustainability transitions and SME innovation.
For a short film on the hydroponic hop growing with TRANSFORM Swedish Hub researchers, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqcn3MTXBC8