Steam is also a hot thing for vine plants

April 30th, 2012

Last year the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) has steamed vineyards for the very first time, in order to research the effects of this soil sterilization method on young vine.

Recently the results were presented. It was shown, that steam significantly increases the growth of plant shoots:

Steaming significantly increases the growth of vine shoots (Source: DLR Rhineland-Palatinate, Schifferstadt)

Steaming significantly increases the growth of vine shoots (Source: DLR Rhineland-Palatinate, Schifferstadt)

It remains to be clarified, if hot steam significantly improves the sprouting of vine. In particular where soil is both highly contaminated with diseases (such as fungus, bacteria, nematodes) and highly affected by soil fatigue, steaming could be developed to a profitable sanitation method for vine nurseries.

Under the leadership of Matthias Zink the DLR in Schifferstadt started a research study together with the steaming specialist MSD (Möschle-Seifert-Dämpftechnik – Steaming Technology) this year. Results are expected next year.

More research trials with steam at DLR & Agroscope

March 9th, 2012

Also in 2012 renowned research institutes plan to do more research on hot steam..

The Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) will do more field studies in tree nurseries in the end of March 2012. In the process the focus will be on the optimization of steaming methods, in order to find out the most effective use of steam.

The preferred method is Sandwich-steaming. Hereby steam is injected simultaneously from the surface and in the depth through a steaming hood with pikes. The goal is the efficient use of hot steam at cost less than 5,000 EUR per hectare.

Besides the DLR, the Agroscope Institute of the University of Wädenswil in Switzerland will do another study on steaming. Hereby hot steam is used to kill a special kind of grass.

This grass has become a pest in Switzerland and causes increasing problems in agriculture as it hampers the growth of cultures. Hot steam shall help to sanitize these infested areas.

Hot Steam Against Parsites in Bark Substrate

February 21st, 2012

Mediterranean countries are the suppliers of bark substrates which is much sought-after. This nutritious plant material which is the preferred choice for cultivation of beet, balcony and indoor plants often already gets infested with parasites at the tree and hence becomes useless.

Steam boiler S 2000 made by MSD GmbH with an output of 2000kg steam/h

Steam boiler S 2000 made by MSD GmbH with an output of 2000kg steam/h

Recently a well known supplier started to use the power of steam, in order to fully free bark from pest, with considerable suscess.

Operating steaming container on a tipping trailer with a volume of 25m³, connected to a vacuum system.

Operating steaming container on a tipping trailer with a volume of 25m³, connected to a vacuum system.

In special steaming containers 25m³ of bark granulate is steamed via a vacuum system for about half an hour und hence gets completely sterilized. For steam generation a steamboiler is used with an output of 2.000 kg steam /h. The steaming container gets filled and unloaded with a tipper within just a couple of minutes.

Steamed bark substrate

Steamed bark substrate

In the future the system shall be continuously filled with a special conveyor band, in order to work quicker and more efficiently.

More information on request. Please write an email to info@moeschle.de

Hot steam against ice and snow goes to the next round

December 27th, 2011

The reduction of roof loads due to snow is a top topic again this winter. For this reason, after the first major snow falls in higher areas new tests were made to find out which steaming methods are most efficient.

The big advantage of hot steam in contrast to classic methods to remove snow with shovels is clear: Due to the heat snow flows away as water. There is no need to first remove snow from the roof and then transport it further away from the building.

Moreover labor cost is much lower when using steam.

In order to melt 1kg of snow only 0,1691 kg of steam is needed. Efficient steam generators with an efficiency of 96% only consume 0,015l of fuel to produce this amount of steam.

In order to calculate energy cost density of snow has to be considered, which is about 0,17kg/dm³ = 170kg/m³ for fresh fallen snow.(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow). In order to steam 1 m³ of snow about 2,55l fuel is needed. This amount was confirmed several times in tests.

Based on this knowledge this year 4 steaming methods were tested and compared.

1. Steaming Hood

The area is covered with a light hood made of aluminium. Then hot steam is induced. The hood is moved to another location by hand once all snow has melted. The results are always 100%.

Hood steaming – The area is completely free of snow – an optimal result

Hood steaming – The area is completely free of snow – an optimal result

Only 15 kg of steam were used to melt all snow on an area of 3.2m² within only 4.5 minutes. (about 0,5m³/89 kg snow).

2. Steaming pipes with steaming sheets

Perforated pipes are laid out on the snow covered area in regular distances and covered with sheets. Hot steam is induced into the pipes to melt snow.

Steaming pipe with steaming sheet. On the left side remaining steam is clearly visible.

Steaming pipe with steaming sheet. On the left side remaining steam is clearly visible.

Most snow melted away. However despite the continuous induction of steam, snow isles remained as no optimal melting affect was achieved due to slightly higher snow density.

3. Steaming pipes in roof gutter

Perforated pipes are laid out in the roof gutter of a green house and continuously covered with snow from both sides while steam evaporates.

Steaming pipe in roof gutter

Steaming pipe in roof gutter

As long as the pipe is constantly covered with snow, an optimal melting affect could be achieved. However, a constant use of labor was needed to supply snow.

4. Steaming with steaming lance

Similar to a high pressure cleaner, steam gets applied via a lance and distributed manually.

Steaming with steaming lance. The majority of steam escaped into the air.

Steaming with steaming lance. The majority of steam escaped into the air.

Although melting was achieved, however the method was very inefficient as the majority of steam doesn’t reach the snow.

Conclusion: Melting snow with a steaming hood is the most effective method to free big areas from snow. The biggest mobile steam generators produce 2000kg of steam per hour and have about 10 times the output than the machine used in the upper mentioned tests. With such a big generator in 4.5 minutes about ~890 kg = ~5m³ of snow can be melted. Per hour a reduction of roof load by more than 65m³ = ~11t is feasible.

Steaming Technology presented on the Horti-Vienna and Agritechnica

November 19th, 2011

The new trade fair for horticulture and vegetable farming in Middle and Eastern Europe took place from the 27. 09 to the 28.09. in Vienna.
Furthermore the world’s biggest agricultural show, taking place from the 14.11. to the 19.11, was fully booked out with more than 2.500 exhibitors from 48 countries.

On both fairs the latest steaming technology was presented. Several thousand visitors could learn more about the latest innovations for soil sterilization with hot steam. For the first time the newly developed steaming system “A-1350-24” was introduced. The robot was designed and manufactured by MSD GmbH, Durbach in cooperation with Fobro-Kress, CH- Hüswil. The steam robot, specialized on the efficient steaming of groomed beat cultures, such as baby leaf salads, was upgraded to double its capacity.

In addition, the current research results of the DLR Rheinlandpfalz on steaming of arugula were presented.

Steaming reaps convincing results in Babyleaf cultures: No weeds – more yields

September 30th, 2011

Within 14 days present on 3 field days: Steaming is everywhere. On the 31.08.2011 the latest results on steaming research made by the DLR RLP were the only topics in a field day in Switzerland. Mr. Ziegler, department manager horticulture, introduced steaming as most efficient means for weed control to more than 50 guests. At the same day new steaming methods were presented on the field day of the chamber of agriculture in Cologne / Auweiler.

Two weeks later, on the 15.09., the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) presented its latest results of steaming tests with babyleaf and arugula on the Quckbrunner Hof during its field day. Two steaming methods were compared with other means of weed control such as classic herbicides, etc. Both steaming methods showed the same effects.

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

The use of herbicides (Kerb Flo and Cadou) in general always came with significant growth disturbance. Cadou suppresses ragwort well, but strongly harms babyleaf as shown in the first picture. The exclusive treatment with Kerb Flo shows much less damages, but the weed control effect is insufficient. Herbicide treatments all required manual removal of weeds.

Areas treated with hot steam showed different results: the steamed beets were all totally weed free. Furthermore plant growth was increased. The DLR pointed out that the effect of hot steam depends on steaming time. If steaming time is too short (below 5 minutes), weed seeds might survive.

“Dämpfmobil” is awarded the German Innovation Price 2011

September 9th, 2011

On the 2nd September 2011 at the forth award ceremony of the German Innovation Price Horticulture, the best innovations were awarded.
MSD GmbH belonged to the group of winners of this year. The award was presented with the following text:

The „Dämpfmobil“ developed by Firma MSD GmbH in Durbach serves the purpose of physical plant protection.

     

It is a new development of a mobile, fully automated steaming device for the superficial, deep penetrating treatment of large, groomed open land areas After manual set up on the field, the steaming robot operates fully automatic.

In comparison to previous systems for area steaming, the steaming robot facilitates the use of steaming and reduces operation cost per hectare, as work time and energy can be saved. This device takes thermo physical plant protection one big step further and makes it more practical.

Award ceremony on the 02.09.2011 in Koblenz (from left to right: Christian and Michael Seifert, the parlamentary state secretary of the federal ministry of agriculture, Peter Bleser, Sonja Seifert, Dieter Seifert, German flower princess Lisa Maurer and the president of ZVG –Heinz Herker. (Photo: ZVG)

Award ceremony on the 02.09.2011 in Koblenz (from left to right: Christian and Michael Seifert, the parlamentary state secretary of the federal ministry of agriculture, Peter Bleser, Sonja Seifert, Dieter Seifert, German flower princess Lisa Maurer and the president of ZVG –Heinz Herker. (Photo: ZVG)

Due to the linkage of modern technology for automation as well as the high efficiency of the used heating system it was possible to create a modern machine based on the proved process of soil steaming. For the future it is expected of such processes to grow in importance. For ecological horticulture steaming is often the only alternative.

Steaming becomes even more beneficial: No weeds also after 2nd crop!

August 31st, 2011

Steaming becomes even less inexpensive. Besides the fact that steaming time can be reduced by 20% without losing the positive weed control effect of steam, recently a study revealed that yet another energy saving potential can be used.

Steam trials with arugula have shown that the 100% effect of hot steam against weeds at a steaming depth of about 8 – 10 cm persists even for the 2nd crop.
After the first and the 2nd crop no weeds were found in the arugula beets. Hence the harvest meets highest quality standards.

No weeds also after 2nd crop – Research result of DLR RLP

No weeds also after 2nd crop – Research result of DLR RLP

Conclusion:
The beets only need to be steamed once for two harvests. Please pay attention to the following: When steaming, the soil needs to be steamed a little longer down to 10cm depth. As long as the soil of the beets isn’t moved, the 2nd crop grows without any weeds. One steaming process can be saved and cost comes down by another approx. 25%!

More results of steaming were presented in Cologne / Auweiler at a field day of the agricultural chamber of the German federal state NRW.
Furthermore the DLR RLP presents its latest research results on steaming during the field day on the 15th of September 2011 in Queckbrunnerhof, Schifferstad.

New Steaming System“Steam Mixer” reaches series-production readiness

July 27th, 2011

The new steaming system, developed by Mobildampf in cooperation with Fobro Kress, has reached maturity. Since this month it’s ready for production.

Steam Mixer, drawn by tractor | Photo: Mobildampf

Steam Mixer, drawn by tractor | Photo: Mobildampf

The Steam Mixer allows variable steaming in greenhouses or on open land. It has a fixed scraper with a two-rowed hydraulic vibrating harrow at 60-200 rounds per minute (no power take off). The steam injector is corrosion-resistant and stands out due to its robust construction.
In accordance to information provided by the manufacturer, the new steaming system runs at a speed of 40-140 m / h, depending on the steaming depth of 5-15cm and on the output of the steam boiler.

Steam Mixer, drawn by tractor | Photo: Mobildampf

Steam Mixer, drawn by tractor | Photo: Mobildampf

The standard scope of supply contains frame, cover, rod-type rolls, steam injector, vibrating harrow, 2 steaming sheets (15m), sheet intake, hydraulic drive incl. plug-in couplings DIN 2 and throttling valve.

This machine was presented for the first time in Nuremburg on the 04th of August 2011

DLR intensifies tests on hood steaming

July 15th, 2011

End of May 2011 the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) has continued its last years‘ successful test series at the research center “Queckbrunner Hof”.

In 2010 two steaming tests were already made to examine the killing effect of steam on weed seeds in particular in comparison to the use of herbicides. The results were impressive: In contrast to chemical means of weed control, steam showed a weed killing effect of 100%. Furthermore yield increased by up to 30%.

The DLR wants to find out which steaming times bring optimal results. The longer the steaming time the deeper the soil gets cleaned by steam and the hotter it becomes – however, the higher the costs. The shorter the steaming time the more economical hot steam can be used.

The results of this study will shortly be published in this blog.