New nanotechnology could cut crops’ water use in half

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly e-newsletter to receive more stories like this. Bauer irrigation system: a new nanotech-based irrigation system developed by Spanish company Nanolabs has been shown to cut water usage dramatically, while affording growers additional benefits including increased biomass and reduced chemical inputs.

What farmer wouldn’t want a tool that reduces the water consumption of crops, especially if that tool can also help cut chemical inputs and boost productivity?

Now, such a tool is available in theform of cutting-edge nanotechnology developed by Spanish company Nanolabs.

The ASAR system: how does it work?

Nanolabs’ agri-focused ASAR system acts on water by emitting energy that stimulates the hydrogen bonds in H2O, creating ‘activated’ hydrogen molecules that modify water’s physical properties in ways that are useful to plants – including food crops.

Essentially, the ASAR process results in ‘smaller’ water molecules that are assimilated more easily by plants.

The Madrid-based firm has been trialling its water-saving nanotech on various food crops around Spain, with impressive results.

According to Nanolabs CEO Javier Llanes, "the benefits that the application of nanotechnology has brought to the agricultural sector are a reality, as our clients have been able to verify. Thanks to our solutions, they have managed to reduce their consumption of water [and] increase the volume and quality of the production.”

What are the benefits?

Applying its patented ASAR technology to crops brings a raft of benefits, claims Nanolabs; these include:

  • reductions of up to 50 percent in crops’ water consumption: Setting up its nanotech-based ASAR systems on the existing irrigation systems of farms across Spain led to water-use savings of between 20 and 50 percent, with the percentage depending primarily on the type of soil in which the crop is grown, states the company;
  • substantial increases in production: After installing its ASAR systems, Nanolabs managed to increase production by up to 40 percent in several trial plantations, each growing a different crop and with varying climates and soil types;
  • reduced dependence on pesticides and fertilisers: The reduction in costly chemical inputs occurred in roughly equal proportion to the reduction of water consumption in the trial plantations, Nanolabs claims.
  • improvements in production through the improvement of water’s organoleptic properties; it has also been shown that ‘activating’ irrigation water via the new nanotechnology-based system leads to increases in the biomass produced, the company states;
  • the elimination of obstructions (including calcium and clay deposits) in irrigation systems; Nanolabs notes that “it has been observed how substantially the amount of sludge collected when cleaning is reduced, with the economic saving that this entails”.
  • increased availability of nutrients and increased soil moisture levels with use of the ASAR system, the nanotechnology allowing for better transport of nutrients to crops and more efficient use of nutrients present in the substrate;
  • reduced electricity costs, linked to a reduction in pumping needs: Implementing the ASAR system led to more efficient irrigation, hence a reduced need for pumping – with the system’s success in this regard demonstrated in projects beyond the laboratory. 

More information

For further information about the ASAR system, visit Nanolabs’ website

Sources: Horti Daily and Nanolabs

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