ENGLISH SALAD FARM COUNTS ON A NEW SEMI-AUTOMATIC STEAMING SYSTEM

September 22nd, 2015

One of well-known and modern baby-leaf farms in West England now uses hot steam for sanitisation of 17ha cultivation soil in greenhouses.

This has become possible due to an invention by MSD GmbH in Durbach (Germany) concerning its special steaming hoods.

Three-membered special steaming hood with foldable outer components and hydraulically-driven auxiliary gear.

Three-membered special steaming hood with foldable outer components and hydraulically-driven auxiliary gear.

The special steaming hood is designed in such a way that it can also be used in narrow confines, e.g. greenhouses, without any problems. It consists of three members. The outer members can be folded out and back hydraulically. Thanks to such a design paired with a smart semi-automatic auxiliary gear, only one operator is needed to work with the entire system (in particular, to move the hood).  The system can daily sanitize with hot steam up to 1,000 sq. m surface at maximum 15 cm depth at higher than 80°C. Currently, the heat oil consumption is about 0.65 l/sq. m

High-performance steaming boiler with steam supplying system, from MSD GmbH

High-performance steaming boiler with steam supplying system, from MSD GmbH

The steam is generated by a high-performance steam boiler from MSD GmbH, Durbach. The steam is mostly supplied to the steaming hood by a pipe system, except the last 15 m. As the result, the mobile steam boiler needs to be moved only one time per each greenhouse aisle. This additionally optimises the efficiency of the steaming method.

KARLSRUHE AGRICULTURAL OFFICE STEAMS STRAWBERRY FIELDS

August 30th, 2015

The solution to soil-borne problems most primarily with diseases is becoming particularly more urgent for cultivated areas for strawberries. In order to take new routes without chemistry, Karlsruhe Agricultural Office thus decided upon appropriate test areas for sanitising soil using superheated steam to grow strawberries.

The first surfaces were already steamed in May for this purpose. Steam specialist, Mobildampf, carried out the first tests using their own equipment.  The most up-to-date soil steamers come exclusively from the company MSD GmbH with an efficiency of up to 96% when used.

Sheet steaming on strawberry beds. In the front you see treated area which was steamed two months before.

Sheet steaming on strawberry beds. In the front you see treated area which was steamed two months before.

The surfaces were sanitised using the classic sheet steaming procedure. Overall, three 1,000m² sections were sanitised up to and into August using superheated steam up to 20cm deep. It was performed on extremely sandy soil and even incorporated raised beds. The results were rather convincing. Very strong crops are shown in surfaces steamed in May in the foreground of the image shown above. The rows of plants have remained completely weed-free throughout the months. Using an energy efficient procedure, such as hood or sandwich-type steaming, the costs of heating oil can be reduced to around 0.3 euros per m². Steaming consequently lends itself ideally to the sanitisation of surfaces for cultivating strawberries and represents a genuine alternative.

ONE MORE STEAMING SYSTEM WITH SPIKED HOOD FOR SOUTH AFRICA

August 20th, 2015

In the first half of this year, one of well-known floriculture farms near Johannesburg decided to use a new steaming system to treat soil with steam on its 40 hectares. This company was advised by a well-reputed expert Mr Marten Barel.

For many years the company has been using a stationary coal-fired steaming system. Now this system is completely revised and replaced by a mobile steaming system from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany). The new state-of-the-art liquid-fuel steam boiler generates superheated steam at almost 96% efficiency factor. Due to this fact alone, the energy consumption was reduced to 0.4 l heating oil per square metre.

Spiked steaming hood on rollers with hydraulic lifting device from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany)

Spiked steaming hood on rollers with hydraulic lifting device from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany)

In this method, the hot steam is transferred into the soil by a very efficient steaming system. In sandwich-type steaming, the steam is injected by a spiked hood both at the surface and to 25 cm depth at the same time. The hood is a custom product. It can be automatically lifted and lowered by a hydraulic system. The system is towed on wheels through the greenhouse with a winch. Moreover, the steam boiler is placed on a low running gear allowing reduction of the total height just to 1.8 m.

Video for illustration of the spiked steaming hood and its operating principle (click here)

High-performance steaming boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) with low running gear allowing reduction of the total height by more than 40 cm.

High-performance steaming boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) with low running gear allowing reduction of the total height by more than 40 cm.

During the steaming, a temperature of 80°C is achieved in about 6-7 minutes. Such temperature is enough to sanitize the soil and to eliminate pathogens and weeds.

FREIBURG REGIONAL COUNCIL ONCE AGAIN USES STEAM AGAINST JAPANESE KNOT WEED

July 19th, 2015

Japanese knot weed remains a major topic of control in Freiburg regional council. The extremely positive experiences using various steaming experiments against the pest introduced has additionally persuaded public providers to now gradually speed up the decontamination of large quantities of cuttings using superheated steam.

Pile steaming against Japanese Knot Weed with MSD steam boiler mounted on a trailor (right)

Pile steaming against Japanese Knot Weed with MSD steam boiler mounted on a trailor (right)

Soil steamin specialist, Steffen Koch, was commissioned with his company, mobildampf, in July 2015 to treat a 500m³ substrate on the River Elz using pure steam and therefore safely killing all germinable parts of plants, most notably the rhizome of Japanese knot weed to ensure that the soil can be moved and deposited.

Special steam injection lances for stack steaming

Special steam injection lances for stack steaming

With a large scale plant, company MSD GmbH was able to treat the entire volume of soil using superheated steam with a steam output of 2,000kg/h within four days, which will be completely free from invasive neophytes. For this reason, approximately 80m³ of substrate was deposited and covered. Using specialised hollow steam injection lances, which can even be driven several metres into the mound of earth awaiting steam treatment, the steam was introduced. In the process, steaming time lasted a maximum of 2.5 hours. Heating oil consumption is an average of ~4 litres per m³.

SANITIZING SUBSTRATES DIRECTLY IN FLOWER POTS. THIS NEW STEAMING METHOD IS APPLYED IDIALY BY A POINSETTIA GROWER IN CENTRAL AMERICA

January 23rd, 2015

One of the largest American poinsettia growers having many production locations in Central America uses a new steaming system for 50ha area.

The company already used steaming for sanitisation of substrates before. However, labour expenses were high: at first, the soil had to be spilled out from each pot and then collected and treated with steam under a sheet. After the steaming, the pots were re-filled with the soil and re-planted.

Special spiked steaming hood in use

Special spiked steaming hood in use

Mr Marten Barel, a specialist in steaming technology, has developed a quite new method. Using this system, you need not to empty the pots and then re-fill them again.

In this case, 45 flower pots are covered with a special steaming hood. The steaming hood is equipped with special steam injectors, which penetrate into each flower pot filled with cultivation soil.  This method ensures that the substrate is heated up to 95°C within 5-6 minutes steaming time and, thereby, completely sanitised.

Steam boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) in front of the plant rows; steaming technology expert and adviser Mr Marten Barel (left)

Steam boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) in front of the plant rows; steaming technology expert and adviser Mr Marten Barel (left)

Thanks to this new technology, the large horticulture company has doubled the steaming capacity. The energy consumption was reduced by 70% to mere 16 l/h, in particular, due to the use of a state-of-the-art high-performance steaming boiler. Using two steaming hoods in turn, the company can treat 450 flower pots with steam per hour.

FULLY AUTOMATIC “Steaming robot” DEVICE PROVES ITSELF IN THE PRACTICE

June 30th, 2014

Since 2010 the Stegemeier horticulture company near Bielefeld (Germany) has used the fully automatic steaming robot from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany). The company has efficiently used the time to optimise the new steaming system awarded with the prize of the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The effort was worth it. In the meantime, the steaming robot has become an integral component of the Stegemeier operation.  The device automatically treats 15 ha outdoor area for rocket (arugula) cultivation with hot steam yearly.

Due to dense sowing on the soil previously treated by the fully automatic device with steam, the company cultivates rocket of a high-quality and completely free of weeds. The labour cost is almost negligible. Since the steaming robot device runs automatically and only needs to be turned by a trained operator at the end of each bed row, the cost of its operation are merely about 3,000 Euros per hectare for heating oil required for steam generation.

Fully automatic steaming robot from MSD GmbH in use outdoors

Fully automatic steaming robot from MSD GmbH in use outdoors

The steaming is performed by three steaming hoods placed under the fully-automatic device. They are automatically lowered, lifted up and moved.  In this way, an optimal result is already achieved at 5 cm steaming depth in about 6 minutes steaming time. In this method, the robot can treat about 0.5 ha in 12 hours.

Video of the steaming robot’s first use outdoors in the beginning of 2010 (click here)

For further information, please contact the manufacturer MSD GmbH in Durbach.

VOLCANIC PUMICE SUBSTRATE RECYCLED WITH HOT STEAM IN EAST AFRICA

May 4th, 2013

In Kenya, the substrate based on volcanic pumice rock is now being recycled by means of hot steam treatment and made reusable.

After the volcanic soil in Kenya had got under protection, it became necessary to recycle and to re-use the available volumes of pumice substrate in many gardening companies, especially in floriculture. Steam proved to be a suitable mean for this task. For this purpose, large special containers were equipped with a sophisticated drainage system and the product in these containers was cleaned with hot steam.

Special steaming containers being filled at Barel BV (NL, Veldhoven)

Special steaming containers being filled at Barel BV (NL, Veldhoven)

With this method, 16 cbm pumice rock are sanitised in 1 hour and thus can be used anew.  The steaming completely liberates the substrate from pathogens, pests, seeds and/or sprouting weeds.

Special steam boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) generates 200°C superheated steam

Special steam boiler from MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) generates 200°C superheated steam

The volcanic substrate has proven to be an ideal steamed product. The heating oil consumption is only 16-18 l per hour. Due to the ideal properties of pumice, you need only 12-15 kg steam per 1 cbm to achieve temperatures higher than 80°C and, thereby, an optimal sanitising result.

STEAM CONTINUES TO SUBSTITUTE METHYL-BROMIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA

December 2nd, 2012

A large floriculture enterprise near Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, has completed its changeover to hot steam as a soil sanitising medium in greenhouses. Previously they used 40-50 gram hazardous plant protection chemical per square metre – with good results.

However, the prohibition of methyl-bromide by the Montreal Protocol and the requirement to put it into effect in developing countries by 2015 at the latest necessitated to re-think this conventional method.

Mr Marten Barel, a worldwide active specialist in horticulture, found an alternative method in which hot steam is used.

The system including steam boiler was supplied by MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) on the basis of the concept developed by Mr Marten Barel.

In the system, a sandwich-type steaming technology is used. The steam is immediately injected into the soil to 20cm depth via hollow pins of a spiked hood made of load-resistant aluminium. Then an average temperature of 80°C is achieved in 6 minutes. This means a complete sanitisation. After the steaming, the soil is free from weeds, weed seeds and soil-borne pests and pathogens across all the 20 cm depth.

Spiked hood with mechanisms for easy lifting-up, lowering and moving

Spiked hood with mechanisms for easy lifting-up, lowering and moving

The steaming process takes place only under glass. The special steaming hood is operated manually, i.e. moved every 6 minutes (due to low labour cost, the company did not want to purchase a semi-automatic solution with hydraulic components). The steamed surface is promptly covered with a sheet to keep the heat in the soil. In this system, the performance is 600 sq. m a day. The energy consumption is about 0.65 l heating oil per square metre. The result is very favourable for the company since especially very sensitive plants, e.g. Lisianthus, positively react on soil steaming.

SOUTH AFRICA DISCOVERS THE EFFECT OF HOT STEAM AS SUBSTITUTION OF METHYL BROMIDE

September 25th, 2012

Timbali Technology Incubator is the first agriculture enterprise in South Africa which uses a steaming boiler (from MSD / Moeschle) to do completely without the harmful soil- chemical methyl bromide (MeBr) and to use hot steam to disinfect the soil and substrates for cultivation of new plants.

Methyl bromide is a smell-free and colour-free gas. It is used as a soil fumigant at agriculture, floriculture, horticulture and olericulture companies and also at the agriculture enterprise Timbali to control weeds and to eliminate soil-borne pests and pathogens.

Timbali Technology Incubator is the first agriculture enterprise in South Africa which uses a steaming boiler (from MSD / Moeschle) to do completely without the soil disinfecting chemical methyl bromide (MeBr) hazardous to health and harmful to the environment. Instead of it, for cultivation of new plants, the company uses hot steam to clean the soil and substrates from weeds, pathogens and pests.

Methyl bromide is a smell- and colour-free gas, which was also previously used as a soil fumigant against weeds, soil-borne pests and pathogens at Timbali, especially for cultivation of flowers and vegetables.

The use of methyl bromide had to expire till January 2005, because it enormously endangers the ozone layer of the stratosphere and is very risky for human health. However, in this respect, Africa still lags behind and was given a grace period for implementation of the MeBr prohibition till 2015. As soon as this period has elapsed, the use of this soil fumigant is also prohibited in Africa according to the Montreal Protocol.

Hood steaming at Timbali, South Africa

Hood steaming at Timbali, South Africa

Being the first company which uses a MSD steam boiler for sanitisation of soil in gardening, Timbali has demonstrated its pioneering spirit and is supported by its partner Eskom.

Mobile high-performance steaming boiler of MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) using 200°C superheated steam

Mobile high-performance steaming boiler of MSD GmbH (Durbach, Germany) using 200°C superheated steam

Some representatives of agriculture enterprises visited Timbali at 29th of August 2015 to see the new machine and the introduced steaming technology (mainly hood steaming). Mr Marten Barel, the expert in steaming technology, demonstrated this steaming boiler and explained all system advantages and functions to the visitors.

Now Timbali continues to make this technology public in South Africa and thereby supports the development of small agriculture business.

Video of introduction of the steaming technology at Timbali (click here)

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.