A new research project by Wageningen University and GreenPort Noord-Holland Noord has concluded that improved storage facilities tailored specifically to the needs of pears could improve fruit quality while also reducing energy use.
Working with seven companies, the researchers looked at the effects of a number of innovations, including a prototype evaporator which they say could save energy and reduce moisture loss, and also developed a new fruit cell controller.
“We estimate that all these improvements will reduce moisture loss in long-term pear storage by 20%. Energy consumption can be reduced to 0.15 kWh per ton per day, which means that energy costs will be some 50% below the national average”, said Jan-Willem van der Klugt, project leader at GreenPort Noord-Holland Noord. “Growers can store their pears for longer with less spoilage, giving them more flexibility in the choice of sales outlets and the moment at which they sell. In turn, it increases their bargaining power when setting prices and enhances their international competitive position.”
The work is part of a larger Dutch project looking at the ‘Sustainable Storage of Agriproducts’ which is working with 11 different SMEs and includes other crops, such as flower bulbs.