Hydroponics. Building Greenhouses and Hydroponic Farms to Secure and Flourish Food in Qatar

Project Report, 2016

78 Pages, Grade: 64.4

Free online reading

In a closed hydroponic farms like hydroponics carried out in greenhouses, very
little and insignificant research has been done on maintaining the individual
nutrient balance in a complete water nutrient solution and how maintaining the
nutrients would result in the less usage of water and the nutrients composition,
to give high yields of production of plants and vegetables, research in this area
would give high outputs with comparatively very less inputs saving adequate
quantity of water, nutrients and minerals. In any Hydroponics system the water
used should always be purified and when nutrients are recirculated in a
hydroponics system, each nutrient must be maintained at the desired
concentration and it will keep changing as the plants absorb nutrients and as
water is reduced from the solution through evaporation and transpiration. It is
difficult to predict the changes that take place in the nutrient solution as it is
difficult to or measure transpiration rates and uptake of each nutrient by the
plant as it grows and develops gradually. Desired concentration of the solution
can be obtained and maintained by continuously leaking of the solution from
the recirculating system and thus the solution is refilled again with desired
concentration of nutrients, which can be changed at certain time intervals as
the plant develops and goes through different phases of growth. Similarly,
there are different factors that affect the plant growth and the water nutrient
solutions when the process of hydroponics is carried out in a greenhouse, like
Oxygen level, mixing of nutrients, water purification, Formulations, Desirable
pH range, monitoring etc. Hydroponic Greenhouses are introduced with
extraordinary technical innovations that have led to improvements of
greenhouses features such as improved ventilation, greater strength and more
resistant, more luminosity, larger air volume, no condensation, etc. Its robust
modular design allows supporting different types of crops and additional
elements such as thermal screens, irrigation pipes, etc. The greenhouse
structure is composed of tubular parts assembly, prefabricated, seamless and
made with premium materials, allowing easy and quick assembly. In addition
to the structure itself, the greenhouse has a series of hard points that enable its
complete immobility, (Christie 2014; Franklin 1998; Asthor 2014).

1. Food Security
2. Agriculture & Water in Qatar
3. Qatar Area
5. Proposed Solution ­ Hydroponics
6. Importance of Protected Agriculture
1. General Review about Hydroponic Greenhouse
2. History of Hydroponics
3. Hydroponics Indoor Experiments
4. Problems in Hydroponics
5. Types of Hydroponics
6. Conclusion of the Review
1. Protected Agriculture (PA)
2. Data Collection
3. Protected Systems Studied
4. Water & Land Productivity of Selected Crops
5. Cost Benefit Analysis
6. Implementation of Hydroponic Greenhouses
7. Greenhouse Features & Overall Dimensions
8. Greenhouse Structure, Foundation & Floor
9. Greenhouse Covering
10. Climate Control & Monitoring
11. Crop System: NGS Hydroponic System

First and Foremost, I would like to Thank the Almighty ALLAH, for all the
favours he has bestowed upon me and giving me the opportunity,
determination and strength to complete my Project Report. I am also very
grateful to my Parents and my Wife who have always been a great support
system for all my achievements in life.
I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to my lecturer
Dr S. K. WERAGODA and my supervisor Mr. GEETH JAYATHILAKE, who
have provided me with all the necessary guidelines and knowledge, along with
all the essential references, to complete my Report.
I am sincerely Thankful and grateful to Mr. Juan Carlos Santiago, Technical
Director, OASIS AGROTECHNOLOGY S.L., for providing me with all the
necessary info and details, and encouraging me to carry out and complete this
project report.
I would also like to give a special gratitude to Sheffield Hallam University and
International College of Business and Technology for accepting me as a
student and allowing me to prepare and submit the following Project report.

Figure 1: - Yield (t/ha) of selected vegetables crops in Qatar under
greenhouses and in open fields, 2006/07 Season...20
Department of Agricultural and Water Research (DAWR, 2007)
Figure 2: Gantt Chart for the development of an approximately 1000m
Hydroponic Greenhouse...60
Dia. 1: - Ebb and Flow...14
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete
Dia. 2: - Nutrient Film...15
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete
Dia. 3: - Aeropincs...15
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete
Dia. 4: - Water Culture...16
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete
Dia. 5: - Wick System...17
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete
Dia. 6: - Drip System...17
The Hydroponics Grower (2013) Types of Hydroponics systems: A complete

Dia.7: - Greenhouse. General view...41
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia.8: - Foundations detail...41
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia.9: - Undulating polycarbonate...45
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia.10: - Zenithal ventilation...48
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia.11: - Lateral ventilation...48
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia.12: - Greenhouse Components...49
Hernandez, M. (no date). Oasis Agrotechnology
Dia.13: - DAC refrigeration System...50
Hernandez, M. (no date). Oasis Agrotechnology
Dia.14: - Design of the multilayer trough...55
NGS (2014), New growing system
Dia. 15: - Detail of installation of the lines...57
NGS (2014), New growing system

Table 1. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of tomato
(`000 tons) in 2007...26
Table 2. Land and water productivity of tomato under different production
Table 3. Monthly production (local), consumption, and deficit of cucumber
in 2007...28
Table 4. Land and water productivity of cucumber under different production
Table 5. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of sweet
pepper in 2007...30
Table 6. Land and water productivity of sweet pepper under different
production systems...30
Table 7. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of eggplant in
Table 8. Land and water productivity of eggplant under different production
Table 9. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of lettuce in
Table 10. Land and water productivity of lettuce in open field production in
Table 11. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of green
beans in 2007...33

Table 12. Land and water productivity of green beans in different production
Table 13. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of strawberry
in 2007...34
Table 14. Land and water productivity of strawberry in different production
Table 15. Monthly production (local), consumption and deficit of musk
melon in 2007...35
Table 16. Land and water productivity of musk melon in different production
Table 17. Cost-benefit analysis of strawberry production under three
production systems...36
Table 18. Cost-benefit analysis of musk melon production: hydroponic
system in non-cooled greenhouse versus soil based production in open
Table 19. Green fodder production in hydroponics and open field
Table 20. Greenhouse cover materials...43
Table 21: Data resume for Greenhouses...56
Table 22: Program of Work...59

The main purpose of this research is the Food security in Qatar, as the region
is heavily dependent on the imports, as far as food is concerned, and the issues
of food security and production of food are more into limelight in recent times,
due to the increasing population, and the crises in availability of food and its
prices, which are much affected in the international market.
Agriculture is the major water consumer in Qatar. In 2005, total water
withdrawal was estimated at 444 million m
, of which approximately 59% was
used for agriculture, 39% for domestic use and 2% for industrial use (FAO,
The main sources of fresh groundwater are two aquifers in northern and central
Qatar, namely UMMER RHADUMA and RUS. The salinity level of these two
aquifers varies from 500 to 3000 mg/l and increases towards the sea, reaching
10,000 mg/l near the coast. In addition, there are two aquifers in the south-
western region with a limited extent and thickness. One is an artesian aquifer
with salinity generally reaching more than 4000 mg/l. The ARUMA aquifer in
the south-west, with a depth of 450-650 m, has similar water quality.
Desalinated sea water and treated sewage e uent are the non-conventional
sources of water in Qatar. In 2005, from a total 55 million m
of municipal
water, 53 million m3 of treated tertiary water was produced. In the same
period, 180 million m
of desalinated seawater was generated (FAO, 2008).

The total area of Qatar is 11,000 km2, which includes the tiny o shore islands.
Its maximum portion is about 180 km along the north south direction, while in
the east west direction, it is 85 km in width. Above sea level its range is
between 50-100m. Qatar is a deserted rocky area with dispersed oases formed
by 850 separately located areas which are lower than the surrounding surface.
Depth of the soil ranges from 30-150 cm, made up of sandy and clay mud. The
topsoil is overlying limestone rubble and solid rock. Soils in these sunken areas
are locally known as RODAT which constitutes the main source of agricultural
soils for the country. Highly saline sunken areas, locally known as SABKHA,
mainly occur along the coasts of MESAIEED, DUKHAN and the southern
boundary of Qatar. In southern Qatar these sunken areas are more like cup-
shaped in appearance, with the bottoms usually covered by Aeolian sands,
(FAO, 2008).
The total population was estimated at 1.6 million in 2009 by the Qatar
Statistics Authority. About three-fifths of Qatar's population lives in Doha
city, the capital, located on the east coast of the Qatar Peninsula. The economy
depends on oil and natural gas ­ Qatar has the world's second largest gas
reserves, representing more than 5% of the world total. The Gross Domestic
Product(GDP) at 2008 prices, is QR 268,494 million. Agriculture and Fishing
contributed only 0.1% to the GDP in 2008(Qatar Statistics Authority, 2008).

To carryout vegetation in the desert land by traditional ways of field farming
is very difficult due to the land and the weather conditions. Hydroponics is the
method of growing plants, fruits and vegetables without using soil. It is a
method of growing plants where the roots of the plants are submerged in to the
water which contains mineral nutrient solutions. The method of growing plants
using Hydroponics is carried out indoors and one of the best ways to grow
plants hydroponically is to carry out the process, in large greenhouses. As the
soil is not being used to grow plants, it is one of the best methods to maintain
hygiene and to avoid any kind of diseases. In hydroponics although there are
many advantages, there are few drawbacks, as there will be very high cost to
build greenhouses and the equipment used will be very expensive. There are
different methods involved in Hydroponics itself, like one of the methods is to
keep your plants into plastic container and let the nutrient water pass through
the roots of the plants. Likewise, there is another method of hydroponics where
there is extremely humid air in a container in which the roots of the plants are
suspended and in the container the nutrient and mineral rich particles are
dispersed in the humid air (Woodford ,2014).
The literal meaning of "Hydroponics" is "water works". Theoretically any
plant is possible to grow hydroponically but in practice only plants and flowers
which cannot be grown locally in the region due to unfavorable climate and
soil conditions, can be grown hydroponically, mostly in greenhouses, for
example vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce etc.
Plants and vegetables grown hydroponically are in much controlled
environment as we can manage and control the water quality, percentage of
nutrients, light conditions, levels of carbon dioxide and also the humidity and
temperature controls. It is because of all these aspects in hydroponics it
becomes an ideal condition for students in schools and universities to learn
more about plant growth and carryout experiments in botany labs (Smith,

Protected agriculture (PA), where crops are grown under protective housing
(plastic houses or greenhouses), is an intensive and dynamic form of crop
production. In PA the environment and therefore timing of production can be
controlled, and yields are substantially improved. PA and its associated
production techniques can significantly improve productivity per unit of area
for the production of high value crops. Furthermore, PA would efficiently
decrease the quantity of water and chemicals used for fresh production of very
good value compared to open field irrigation. Under PA, a range of fruits and
vegetable crops are grown over an extended time period during the year. The
technology is best suited for use on desert land or other non-fertile lands.
PA is both a ordable and sustainable if the structures used are simple and easy
to construct, in particular suited to deserted marginal areas and water deficient
areas where farmers are struggling to grow any kind of crops and earn their
living. PA has the potential to improve rural livelihoods and contribute
significantly to the development of rural communities and to the national
economy. It will play an important role to produce fresh fruits and vegetables
and supply to local markets. PA and its associated industry would improve
employment within rural communities. PA also o ers very good potential for
the development of a private sectors in the construction industry and
equipment suppliers. Eventually there will be a very high yield and good
quality production from PA and can be exported to foreign market and
generate good revenue (Khan et al., 2011).

If hydroponics is used widely in the Qatar region, the plants will grow faster
and healthier. The production of fruits and vegetables will be of very good
quality, compared to the traditional method of soil farming. The Qatar region
will be self-sufficient and will not have to depend on the imports from other
countries as far as fruits and vegetables are concerned and hence, indirectly it
will support the region's National food security program in absolute
dependently manner. Qatar Economy would also make progress in agricultural
sector, rather than just depending on its oil and natural gas reserves.
1. To test the system of Hydroponics in a small Greenhouse and find out
how it works in different seasons throughout the year, before moving
ahead to develop Greenhouses on larger scale.
2. To ensure that the Hydroponic Greenhouses built on largescale could
withstand harsh climate conditions in the region and have greater
3. To find out the advantages and disadvantages when growing the plants,
fruits and vegetables hydroponically.
4. To examine the growth and production of plants, fruits and vegetables
in different climate conditions.
5. To build huge and plenty of greenhouses where the plants can be grown
6. To set cost benefit analysis in order to obtain the prices appropriate to
the people locally and within the region.
7. To manage and monitor the production throughout the lifecycle of the
project during the year.
8. To ensure good quality of the fruits and vegetables produced
hydroponically to meet people's satisfaction.

The measures taken in the UAE to use hydroponics for vegetation and growing
flowers has been very successful and it is being used for more than a decade,
and hence it is being very popular in the gulf region. As the top most benefit
of using hydroponics in the gulf region is the usage of water which can be
reused up to 80 to 90 percent and the amount of water used is very less
compared to traditional farming, for example in hydroponics, a kilogram of
lettuce requires only 20 liters of water where as it requires almost 400 liters to
grow same amount of lettuce using traditional method of farming. The Qatar
region has more or less similar climatic and soil conditions when compared to
UAE and hence the method of Hydroponics can also be applicable to Qatar
(Bardsley, 2014).
Hydroponic farming makes best use of environmental conditions and
nutritional value for plant growth and hence improves the food quality and its
flavor. It has been proven scientifically that the herbs and plants grown
hydroponically have up to 20% to 30% more essential oils than when the plants
are grown in field using traditional farming and thus they have better quality
with more flavor and aroma, also they are more rich in vitamins and minerals,
for example, tomatoes grown hydroponically have twice the lycopene content
(red pigment) and 50% more of vitamin C and organic acids. Using
hydroponics, the plants and vegetables can be produced abundantly if the basics
of hydroponics are known. Hydroponics farming is a process of multiplication
by natural reproduction. Rockwool is one of the popular medium to carryout
hydroponics, it is a fibrous material which can hold high capacity of water and
air. As Rockwool is such an excellent medium to hold high capacity of water
and it provides excellent root aeration, it is almost impossible for young plants
to die due to overwatering. Rockwool is first slightly soaked in a slightly acidic
nutrient solution, then it is drained and then it is submerged into the growing
medium. The medium can then be placed into the greenhouse where it can get
adequate sunlight and air so that the seeds start to germinate (Smith, 2013).

Hydroponics can also be carried out through cutting of the plant branch tips
leaving 3 to 4 sets of leaves, then the bottom leaves can be removed and the
cut end can be dipped into a protective rooting gel such as CLONEX, this cut
end can be submerged deep enough into the growing medium so that the plant
is supported. Sprinkle some water to the plant to create some mist and cover it
with some dome to create some humidity and then place it into the propagation
station like greenhouse to receive some sunlight and air for hydroponics to take
place (Smith, 2013).
One of the major advantage of hydroponics over soil based farming is the
precise nutrient control. In soil based farming, sometimes the adequate amount
of nutrients is not present in the soil which can be obtained by adding fertilizers
and to maintain the nutrient concentration becomes very difficult and it
becomes almost impossible to reduce or change the concentration, however the
manipulation of the nutrient concentration is very easy in hydroponics and
farming becomes very productive without any major loss to the plants or the
nutrient medium and thus the medium can be reused for several times (Smith,
There are 17 elements that are essential for any plant growth, the 3 basic
elements that contribute to the process of photosynthesis and sugar production
in plants are Hydrogen, Carbon and Oxygen which is obtained directly from the
air and water, that accounts for more than 95% of plant's dry weight, other 14
elements are obtained from the nutrient and mineral solution provided during
the process of Hydroponics. Both macro-elements and micro-elements include
in the essentials of the plant growth from which macro-elements are consumed
by the plants in great quantity compared to the micro-elements. Macro-elements
include nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur.
Micro-elements include zinc, iron, copper, iron, manganese, nickel,
molybdenum and chlorine. The Hydroponic nutrient solution must contain a
full spectrum of all the above mentioned macro and micro elements (Smith,

Hydroponic farming is not a very new method of farming or new technology
known recently but it has been around over thousands of years ago for example
Floating Gardens of China and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the earliest
known examples of Hydroponic farming, but hydroponic farming was not
being widely practiced, it is recently that there has been a great interest being
developed in Hydroponic farming specially in regions where the soil and
weather conditions are not adequate for traditional soil farming like desert
regions. In 1924, the word "Hydroponics" was created by Dr. WILLIAM F.
GERICKE who was the professor at the University of California, known as the
father of Hydroponics, as before 1924 the process of soil-less growing of plants
and vegetables was known as AQUACULTURE, CHEMICULTURE and
NUTRICULTURE. The professor used the method of Hydroponics to grow
fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamentals and root crops. The tomato plants
which he grew using hydroponics attained the height of 25 feet and the size of
tomatoes would be the size of grapefruits. This inspired many to produce
biggest and best Harvest using Hydroponics. At the time of World War II,
British and American armies used the method of Hydroponics to grow hundreds
of thousands of tons of food for the soldiers in deserted and remote areas where
traditional method of soil farming was not possible, even after the war was over
they continued to grow food using hydroponics and in 1952, American army
produced almost 8 million pounds of fresh Hydroponic food that was located
mostly in Japan. Hydroponics farming was widespread worldwide and became
a major industry since the year 1960 especially in USA, Russia, France,
Germany, Holland, Australia, middle east and South Africa. A Recent study
done by Australian Government estimates about 65,000 acres of high intensity
hydroponic yields exists worldwide with a value of 6 to 8 billion US dollars per
year. Hydroponics is also becoming increasingly popular and important method
in agriculture due to factors like worldwide shortage of oil and water, global
warming, desertification and globalization. Hydroponics is also used by US
Navy to grow vegetables on submarines and entities like NASA to provide food
and oxygen for the astronauts travelling on long flights in space (Pebrero,

The concept of growing plants in an indoor hydroponic system is very
commonly and greatly accepted concept. Solution culture systems can easily
be adapted to a tremendously large variety of experiments and treatments due
to their acceptance for consistency and readiness to control the environment of
the plant root. A system for supplying nutrient solutions to the plant roots
should be able to adequately maintain the aeration in the plant root
environment, provided the solution should be at a known rate and
concentration of the nutrients, and also the integrity of different nutrient
treatments should be maintained. Some type of inter related concentration of
minerals and nutrients are used with hydroponics systems to support plant
growth, production and aerate their systems of root. Several mix and match of
various nutrient solutions of hydroponic culture are used for the growth
chamber for researches and experiments.
Some of these experiments are known as static solution culture, flowing
solutions and root misting systems (Franklin, 1998).
3.1 Static:
Static or standing solution systems are widely used for experiments that involve
great number of nutrient treatments, as the multiple treatments is very
expensive to generate and establish when the experiments are done by flowing
the solutions, the use of cultures are made. Thus plant reacts to different
quantities of nutrients in the solution, or hormones applied at the root systems,
are usually examined in static/standing culture systems. However, the
concentration of nutrients is not constant in static cultures, as the plant root
system absorbs and uses the nutrients, therefore with time the nutrient
concentration tends to decline.
With static systems, it is difficult to provide exactly same rates of aeration,
levels of nutrients, electrical conductivity, and pH levels in each culture
container, especially as plants grow healthier and large, relative to the culture

Suitable containers used for static/standing systems include polyethylene
beakers, vessels lined with black polyethylene film, jars of glass, and pots. It is
important that vessels should not be transparent or see through, just for the
prevention of the growth of algae.
In static or standing systems, solution may get empty through the air lines, if
the supply of the air is stopped. If air lines are fixed at the bottom of the culture
container, then the check valves should be placed for controlling. If air lines are
placed through the top of the container, drainage can be avoided by making a
small hole, above the solution, in the inlet tube. A number of containers can be
treated with oxygen equally from one high pressure identical devices.
These identical devices are made with a large diameter latex rubber tube fitted
with hypodermic needles. The latex rubber tube connected to a filtered air
supply becomes a manifold for providing a regular and consistent supply of
air, checked through the hypodermic needles to each individual vessel by a
plastic tube and a length of glass tubing added into the solution. The inside
diameter of this glass tubing should be more than 5 mm to limit the rapid flow
of nutrients at the end of the tube, which will gradually decrease the supply of
air. The supply of air will be sufficient for the rapid circulation of the nutrients
in the solution. The rubber tube should not be directly in contact with the
nutrient solution because organic compounds would extract out and provide a
source of carbon for the excessive production of microorganisms by
multiplication. Effective supply of oxygen can also be obtained by using a
glass tank with air stone at the end of an airline in each vessel. However, many
glass tanks with air stones has CuS04 at levels that can be poisonous to the
plants (Franklin, 1998).
3.2 Flowing:
A steady and persistent nutrient environment can be achieved for the plant root
system by Flowing solution systems. They are highly responsive to automatic
control but are subject to rapid plant scarcity if the moving solution stops.
Therefore, it needs frequent attention and alarm systems should be fixed, to
indicate the failures of the system, to the operators.

For each type of vessels there are, various types of flowing/moving solution
cultures. One system uses airlift to pass the nutrient solution and to constantly
regulate it in circular motion, to individual vessels. Solution from the bottom
of the vessel moves through a glass tube into a short section of rubber tube,
which is connected at the opposite end by a glass rod. A short piece of
polyethylene micro tubing is fixed into the rubber tube which serves to
circulate the motion of the solution into the rubber tube at the bottom of the
tube used for lifting. If the tube is more in length, there will be less motion of
the nutrient solution. At this instance oxygen is then induced into the tube, in
the pot below the nutrient solution level.
Using a pumping tube system, nutrient solution is then flowed from a reservoir
to a tank for distribution. At this point it is essential to stop the system, between
the reservoir and the tank used for distributing, using an air inlet tube, the
nutrient solution level in the tank is maintained by adjusting the air inlet tube
in the reservoir. Now the plant vessels are fed by the distributor tank with a
tube. A drainage tube, with the help of a hole in the lid of the plant vessel, is
used to control a steady slow drainage. The pumping drain must have a large
opening and a slow flowing rate than the rate at which it is fed. The volume of
the nutrient solution in the reservoir should be more or equal the volume of all
the plant vessels, for the uniformity of the filling of each plant jar at initial level.
There is another container system which feeds 20 polyethylene vessels from a
regulating, common nutrient solution. As the water gets evaporated, the
solution automatically refilled by the system, at a fixed rate to reduce the
changes in H
and the concentrations of nutrient ion. Total of 22 liters of
nutrient solution is oxygenated by constantly regulating the solution through
each plant vessel. In the center of each vessel the nutrient solution drains
through a tube and then it is recirculated back into the common two liter PVC
reservoir. The nutrient solution level in the reservoir is maintained by a
Styrofoam float valve, and when the nutrient solution level is very low, it turns
on a solenoid valve so that the solution is provided with the required nutrients
from a nutrient solution reserved in a large globular plastic bottle (Franklin,

3.3 Root Misting:
Root misting is a closed system hydroponics, in this system plant root system
are suspended in a misting box where the roots float in midair. There are holes
in a panel cover, which is made of Styrofoam or other material, to support the
plants. To maintain a high RH (relative humidity) and to keep out any source
of light from reaching the plants inside the misting box, for preventing the
growth of algae, the misting box is tightly closed. Depending on the system,
every 2-3 minutes the misting system sprays the solution of nutrients on to the
plant roots constantly for couple of seconds. In some systems the nutrients
solution is regulated back to use it on to the roots whereas in some systems
solution is allowed to discharge and removed as waste. To avoid nutrient salts
from the spray nozzles, use of centrifugal atomizers are often made, just for the
provision of regular and constant misting for a longer period of time (Franklin,
One of the important note to be taken into account is that any plant grown using
hydroponics system will not give the desired amount of production or the
desired quality of the yields, however by experimenting and trying different
nutrient solutions with different controlled environment can help to predict and
produce the desired quality and the quantity of production. For making
hydroponic gardening a commercial business one should have a good research
about the market, to make the project financially feasible and the operational
startup cost should be with respect to the financial gains at the end, yearly
changes in the crop price should be considered to ensure the profit value. As
hydroponics is comparatively new technique and concept, choice of certain
system needs specific supply of hardware and tools, there should be adequate
availability of land, not only for cultivation purpose but also to support the
hydroponic system. A professional help of experienced enterprise or personnel
should also be available in building and maintaining the whole operation
(Smith, 2013).

The cost involved in hydroponics is very high, as crops of high economic value
are being used in this system and it requires huge capital to build the
greenhouses and costly equipment are being used, also it needs special skilled
labors to work throughout the year as it requires ongoing constant supervision
services. In addition, it is also very difficult to control any diseases or insect
pest if occurred (Health, Safety and Environment Impact). The power supply
should be constant and maintained, in case of power outage the plants could dry
out and then have to manually water the plants. In hydroponics the production
is less compared to the traditional way of field farming. Hydroponics requires
high level of technical expertise and high level of knowledge in plant science
and agriculture (Diez, 2015).
Ernst and Busby (2009) states that, Hydroponics generally consists of six major
types namely:
Ebb and Flow
Nutrient Film Technique
Water Culture
Wick System
Drip System

All these hydroponic systems have common components regardless of the kind
of method used to carryout plant production hydroponically, such as water
containing nutrient, the supply of water and the contact of the nutrient solution
with the growing medium. Growing medium can be anything that can support
the growth and the development of the pant such as fibers, minerals, solutions
and composites, but soil is not considered as the hydroponic growing medium.
Few other components are common in several systems like the air stones and
pumps are submerged into the water.
The following explains all the mentioned 6 types of hydroponics:
Dia.1. Ebb and Flow
Diagram 1. Illustrates the Ebb and Flow method of hydroponic which is also
known as Flood and Drain systems due to repeating the cyclical process of
pumping the nutrient solution into the tray where the plants are suspended and
then slowly and gradually make it flow back to the water reservoir. The Ebb
and Flow system is basically consisting of the plant tray and the growing
medium at the top of the reservoir of nutrient solution. There is timer which
activates the pump which forces the nutrient mixture solution and then it is
drained back in to the reservoir, this process is repeated after fixed and regular
intervals of time.

Dia.2. Nutrient Film
Diagram 2. Illustrates the Nutrient Film Technique which is the very first
method of Hydroponics established, and it is widely accepted for the cultivation
of gardens. Nutrient Film Technique system is simple and easy to use and it is
not very expensive to setup. In Nutrient Film Technique a film of water nutrient
solution travels to the flat surface where the root system of plants is suspended
in the form of channels, at regular intervals of time using pumps, plant roots
absorb the nutrients from the nutrient solution and the unused nutrient solution
flows back to the reservoir which can be reused by pumping it back to the flat
surface where the Film is created.
Dia.3. Aeroponics

Diagram 3. Illustrates the Aeroponics technique of Hydroponics. In
Aeroponics, the plant root system is suspended in a container where there is
humid air and inside the container nutrient rich water is sprayed on to the root
system of the plants. As the root system is suspended in midair, there is
sufficient amount of oxygen supply due to which the growth of the plants is
faster and their length is far greater than you can find in traditional methods of
growing plants.
Dia.4. Water Culture
Diagram 4. Illustrates the Water Culture Technique. Among all hydroponic
systems, water culture is the most basic method in which the plants are literally
cultivated in nutrient water. The pots of the plants are suspended in nutrient
water where the pots float on the platform usually made of polystyrene which
holds the plant pots. The oxygen is supplied to the plants from an air-stone
which is operated with an air pump.

Dia.5. Wick System
Diagram 5. Illustrates the wick system of Hydroponics. In wick system a wick
is used that is a plastic tubing is used to carry out the nutrient water from the
reservoir to the growing medium where the plant root system is suspended. In
wick system there is no moving objects and an air-stone is installed in the
reservoir to carry out the oxygen to the plants.
Dia.6. Drip System

Diagram 6. Explains the Drip system of Hydroponics. Drip system is used more
than any other types of Hydroponics. Drip system is very simple and
straightforward. The water in the reservoir is pumped at fixed time intervals
using a timer, to a drip line which is positioned just above the plant base and
above the growing medium, then water is dripped to the base of each plant root
system supplying them with nutrients and then the water is filtered through the
growing medium and flows back to the water reservoir.
All of the above methods can be used to produce high quality, healthier fruits
and vegetables throughout the year in the gulf region by developing Hydroponic
farms and greenhouses.
Certainly there is no doubt that Qatar is desert which receives 3 inches of rain
per year and for any region to be classified as desert, it should receive less than
10 inches of rain per year. As the region is very dry yet you can see few plants
exists around the landscape naturally but these plants are not food bearing.
Adequate amount and regular water is needed for food bearing plants to survive
which is very difficult in this region. Growing plenty of plants and throughout
the year requires plenty of water which can be very expensive as the water used
in Qatar is desalinated. In Hydroponics the nutrients are supplied directly to the
root system through the nutrient water, which can be recycled thus only 10% of
water is used, of the water used in traditional method of farming. In hydroponics
plants don't have to waste its energy to develop large roots to get the nutrients
as the nutrients are directly supplied to their roots, this results in smaller roots
and more plants can be planted close to each other taking very less space and
as a result there will be more production. In Qatar as the sunlight is available
abundantly, the solar energy can be used to generate power for the desalination
plants. Plants use concentrated solar power using mirrors to generate
desalinated water. Qatar can be self-sufficient as far as food is concerned using
various forms of hydroponics, by applying the method on larger scale. As more
than 80% of the Qatar land is vacant, there is no issue of finding vast lands for
building Hydroponic Greenhouses (Gaulter, 2013).

Protected Agriculture(PA) and its associated techniques(Hydroponic) o er
many advantages:
· Significantly increase produce yield and quality and generate higher revenue.
· Utilize marginal and non-productive lands in relatively small areas where
other crops cannot be cultivated.
· High water productivity compared to open field, saving significant amounts
of water that could be used to expand farming systems.
· With good management, use of agrochemicals can be significantly reduced,
producing safe food and reducing production costs.
· O ers year around production, so multiple cropping is possible on the same
unit of land. The farmers can take the advantage of this flexible system to
produce fruits and vegetables off season and sell the produce in market at higher
· PA can increase farm diversification through producing high quality vegetable
crops which cannot otherwise be produced in rural areas
· On a larger scale, it can generate employment due to the need for intensive
management of crops. It particularly favors the involvement of women, as it
does not require heavy labor, and provides an enclosed environment in which
women can work in line with a conservative culture.
· PA o ers opportunities for the development of pre-urban production close to
major markets, reducing transport and packaging costs.
Agricultural production in Qatar is facing multiple challenges: extremely high
temperature, harsh and fragile environment, very scarce water resources, and
limited suitable soil. Such conditions make PA a valuable option in Qatar.

Without irrigation, agriculture in Qatar is not possible. Groundwater is already
being rapidly depleted and sustainability in agricultural production depends on
unconventional water resources such as desalinization. Utilizing such
expensive water for agriculture requires a production system with higher
productivity per unit of water and land. Thus, PA would contribute to meeting
the increasing demand for food in Qatar, increasing production while
conserving the fragile environment.
PA has shown great potential for producing the high nutrition fruits and
vegetables that are essential for a healthy and balanced diet.
ICARDA's(International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry
Areas)research in the Arabian Peninsula has showed that PA, together with
modern techniques such as soilless culture (hydroponics) and Integrated
Production and Protection Management (IPPM), could substantially increase
water productivity with minimum amounts of agrochemicals. Using such
techniques would save considerable amounts of water and land that could be
used for other crops. Statistics published by Department of Agricultural
Development and the Department of Agricultural & Water Research in Qatar,
confirm the superiority of greenhouse yields over open fields (Arid
Greenhouse, 2015; DAWR, 2007; FAO, 2008; Moustafa et al., 1998).
This comparison is illustrated in Figure 1.

Data was collected from four main sources: -
Department of Agriculture and Water Research
Department of Agricultural Development
Data collected from two progressive PA farms in Qatar with reliable
production information, namely Arab Qatari Agriculture Production
Company and Al SULAITEEN Agricultural & Industrial
Complex(SAIC). The information was either collected from records
or generated during the production seasons.
ICARDA's previous research in Qatar and other countries in the
region with similar environment.
To generate data on water and land productivity under hydroponics, ICARDA
provided SAIC (Al SULAITEEN Agricultural & Industrial Complex) with
technical backstopping to establish a number of hydroponics systems which
were planted with cucumber, tomato, sweet pepper and strawberry. To measure
water consumption for crop production as well as cooling systems, water
meters were installed. Data collection and record sheets were developed and
provided to the farm manager for recording data during the production period.
To ensure the uniformity of data collected from research stations and private
farms, data collection sheets were developed for open field and greenhouse
production. The data sheets include the following items: Seasonal calendar,
total area of production (m²), estimated cost of establishment (greenhouse or
open field) and depreciation, cost of production and agricultural inputs (seeds,
growth media, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides, labor, electricity, other inputs),
production periods and average yield, and selling prices (Moustafa et al.,

Di erent hydroponics production systems at Sulaiteen Agricultural and Industrial
Complex, (SAIC) Qatar
2.1 Definitions:
Yield (production per unit area) kg/m² = Total yield /total greenhouse
area under cultivation
Water productivity (production per unit of water) kg/m
= Total yield /
total water consumed
Cooling water consumption m
= total amount of water consumed by
cooling system during the production period.
Consumption of cooling water was measured using water meters from July to
December at SAIC. The amount of cooling water depends on cooling pad area,
number of operating hours, relative humidity and temperature. A factor was
developed to calculate the total monthly consumption of cooling water based
on the actual monthly consumption and the environmental conditions i.e.
temperature and humidity (
Moustafa, no date)

Protected agriculture systems presented in this study are classified according
to the greenhouse structure and production system in each farm.
3.1 HAMRANIEH Research Station, UAE:
Area: single span with 255 m
(8.5 x 30m). Cover: Polyethylene sheet.
Irrigation water: brackish water; but desalinated water is purchased for
hydroponics. Cooling system: no cooling.
3.2 SULAITEEN Agricultural and Industrial Complex (SAIC), QATAR:
Two greenhouse types are used at SAIC:
Multi span greenhouse. Area 1440 m
(48 x 30m). Cover: Greenhouse
roof covered with
polyethylene sheets, sides covered with fiberglass sheets. Irrigation water:
desalinated water through an automatic irrigation system. Cooling system: pad
and fan cooling system using desalinated water. Total area of pad surface 86.4
(48 x 1.8m). Each greenhouse is fitted with 12 exhaust fans (52 inch).
Single-span greenhouse. Area: 200 m
(8 x 25m). Cover: Polyethylene
sheets. Irrigation water: desalinated water through an automatic irrigation
system. Cooling system: pad and fan cooling system using desalinated water.
Total area of pad surface 12 m
(6 x 2m). Each greenhouse is fitted with 2
exhaust fans (52 inch).
3.3 Arab Qatari Agricultural Production Co:
Four greenhouses were studied:
Multi-span greenhouse (Glass house). Area 5000 m
(125 x 40m).
Cover: the greenhouse is covered with glass. Irrigation water:
desalinated water through an automatic irrigation system. Cooling
system: pad and fan cooling system using desalinated water. Total
area of pad surface 225 m
(125 x 1.8m). Each greenhouse is fitted
with 32 exhaust fans (52 inch).

Multi-span greenhouse. Area 5000 m
(62 x 40m). Cover: the
greenhouse is covered with glass. Irrigation water: desalinated water through
an automatic irrigation system. Cooling system: pad and fan cooling system
using desalinated water. Total area of pad surface 111 m
(62 x 1.8m). Each
greenhouse is fitted with 15 exhaust fans (52 inch).
Large span greenhouse (Net house). Area 10,000 m
. Cover: the
greenhouse is covered with insect proof net. Irrigation water: desalinated water
through an automatic irrigation system.
Single-span greenhouse. Area 351 m
(39 x 9m). Cover: the greenhouse
is covered by polyethylene sheets. Irrigation water: desalinated water through
an automatic irrigation system.
3.4 OTTORIA Agricultural Research Station:
Single-span greenhouse. Area 180 m2 (9 x 20m). Cover: greenhouse is covered
with polyethylene sheets; the ends are covered with fiberglass sheets. Irrigation
water: desalinated water through an automatic irrigation system. Cooling
system: pad and fan cooling system using desalinated water. Total area of pad
surface 12 m2 (6 x 2m). Each greenhouse is fitted with 2 exhaust fans (52 inch).
Greenhouses at SAIC: single-span (left)
and multi-span (right)
Net-houses at the Arab Qatari
Agricultural Production Company

Productivity per unit of water and land for selected vegetables and fruits
crops in Qatar are presented and compared. For crops where data were not
available, production records from neighboring countries with similar
conditions were used
Moustafa, no date)
4.1 Tomato:
Tomato is the one of the major vegetable crops produced in Qatar in open
fields and greenhouses. As reported by DAWR, it is grown on 367.3 ha
representing 12.92% of total cropping area. Total annual production during
the 2007 season was 11,870 tons. Greenhouses occupying 6.1 ha produced
894 tons of tomatoes (DAWR 2006/07). In 2007, total consumption of tomato
in Qatar was estimated at 34,864 tons, of which 22,996 tons were imported.
The deficit reaches nearly 100% during the summer and autumn months
when local production is low or zero. During the winter and spring months,
local production covers >40% to 90% of consumption (Table 1).
Land productivity of tomato in open fields was only 4 to 6 kg/m
compared to
17 kg/m
in cooled greenhouses (Table 2). Other studies have reported similar
trends for land productivity in tomato. For example, 10 and 16 kg/m
in non-
cooled and cooled greenhouses respectively, in Kuwait (Al- Nasser and Bhat,
1998); 17.36 kg/m
under cooled greenhouses in UAE (unpublished data,
HAMRANIEH Research Station); 37 kg/m
and 3 kg/m
in non- cooled
greenhouse and open field, respectively, in Yemen
(Khan et al., 2011). Water
productivity in open fields was low, at 2.82 and 6 kg/m
in OTTORIA Research
Station and UAE (Table 2). Water productivity in cooled greenhouses was
19.08 and 28.20 kg/m
in SAIC and UAE respectively. The variation in land and
management and greenhouse type.

High-quality tomato crops under hydroponics, in a greenhouse at SAIC (left) and a
net-house in UAE

4.2 Cucumber:
reported by DAWR, cucumber accounted for 79% of total greenhouse area
and 83% of greenhouse production during 2006/07. Total consumption in
2007 was more than 13,000 tons, while local production was >8500 tons,
giving a deficit of 35% (Table 3). The deficit is high during the summer and
early autumn. In winter and spring, local production from greenhouses
(mainly non-cooled) covers 70-90% of consumption. Land productivity for
cucumber under protected agriculture was 6.6 times higher than in open
fields. Data on water productivity of cucumber in open field in Qatar were not
available; however, it was possible to calculate water productivity for
greenhouse production.
Cucumber production in the greenhouse in UAE. Left: in soil in a farmer's field.
Right: after a hydroponic system was installed in the same greenhouse

In Qatar, three to four cucumber crops per year can be produced under
cooled greenhouses, and two crops per year in non-cooled greenhouses.
Table 4 summarizes the land and water productivity for cucumber based on
t sources.
Land productivity under cooled greenhouses ranged between 16 and 21
. Productivity per unit of area under net-house in AQAPC was 16 kg/m
However, only two crops per year can be produced from the net-house.
per unit of land could be attribute
greenhouse structure, greenhouse management, and environment.
Productivity of cucumber in RUMAIS Agricultural Research Station, Oman,
was 12 kg/m
for single- span greenhouse (9 x 40m) for two crops per year. A
similar greenhouse without cooling produced only one crop per year with
land productivity of 7 kg/m
. Greenhouse management, water quality and
production schedule also contributed to the variations in production.

Water productivity was 13.86 kg/m3 from cooled greenhouses in AQAPC,
while the net-house gave 12 kg/m3. Considering that net-houses give
relatively high yield and water productivity with only limited investments,
they are a good option. A net- house provides good protection and excellent
ventilation in areas with mild winters, such as Qatar.
4.3 Sweet Pepper:
Sweet pepper in Qatar is cultivated in open fields as well as greenhouses. The
total cropping area was 147.2 ha, which represent is 1.76% of total cropped
area. Total annual production was 884 tons in 2006/07 (DAWR, 2007)
Total consumption in Qatar was estimated at 3175 tons in 2007 (Table 5).
Local production during this year was only 473 tons, giving a deficit of 85%.
The deficit was high during summer and autumn, but even during the good
climatic conditions during winter and spring, local production was low. Sweet
pepper is mostly grown in open fields, where yield and quality are limited by
soil and water salinity, pests, diseases and other constraints. Land
productivity in open fields was as low as 1.49 kg/m2, recorded at one of the
major producers in Qatar (Table 6). Productivity was much higher in green-
houses, e.g. 7.9 kg/m2 in non-cooled greenhouses. Water productivity in
open fields was only 1.18 kg/ m2. In the SAIC farm, water productivity in
cooled greenhouses was 7.97 kg/m3, compared to 6.27 kg/m3 in non-cooled
greenhouse at AQAPC in Qa
cooled and non-cooled greenhouse is small considering the large investment
required for the cooling system and the water used for cooling. Clearly, non-
cooled greenhouses are a better option for growing sweet pepper during
autumn, winter and spring.

4.4 Egg Plant:
The total cropped area of eggplant in 2007 was 116.2 ha, which is 1.39% of
total cropped area in Qatar (DAWR, 2007). Total production in 2006/07 was
2905 tons. Although there has been negligible production of this crop under
greenhouses, it is becoming a popular crop lately due to good market prices.
Total eggplant consumption in Qatar was estimated at about 6230 tons, of
which 3030 tons were imported (Table 7). The overall deficit was about 49%
but reached 70-100% during the summer and autumn months. Local
spring. Land and water productivity under greenhouse and open field
conditions is illustrated in Table 8. Land productivity in open fields was 6kg/m
for six months' production during winter and spring. Under cooled and non-
cooled greenhouses, land productivity was almost the same, at 11 kg/m

This was reported in Qatar and UAE. Water productivity in open fields was
only 3 kg/m
compared to 11 kg/m
in cooled greenhouses. No data were
available on water productivity in non-cooled greenhouses, but it is expected
to be similar to cooled greenhouses.
The quality of greenhouse products was superior, resulting in higher market
price. SAIC sold green- house eggplant at 6 QR/kg, i.e. 20 times higher
income/m2 than open field production in OTTORIA Research Station, where
eggplant sold at 2.5 QR/kg.
4.5 Lettuce:
Although lettuce is a profitable crop with increasing market demand, local
production is very low. Lettuce in Qatar is grown mostly in open fields. As
reported by the DAWR, lettuce covered an area of 115 ha which is 1.37 % of
total cropped area. Consumption in 2007 was estimated at 9161 tons, i.e. a
deficit of 97% (Table 9). Even during the mild climate in winter and spring,
local production does not cover more than 10% of requirements. The total
value of imported lettuce in 2007 exceeded QR 41 million. The demand in
Qatar is more for crisp lettuce (Iceberg variety) while local production is
mostly Romaine varieties which have more nutritional value than Iceberg.

Land productivity in open fields was about 4kg/ m
in SAIC and 2 kg/m
AQAPC in Qatar (Table 10). Water productivity was as low as 1-2 kg/m
However, these data are not reliable since lettuce is considered as a minor
crop and production re- cords are not usually kept. Lettuce can be success-
fully grown in the greenhouse. It has a short cycle of 45 days from seeds to
harvest and it is possible to produce four crops during the winter and spring
months. As for the summer and autumn months, special cultivars should be
grown in cooled greenhouses to prevent the formation of flowers as day
length and temperature increase.
Lettuce under hydroponics in UAE: Left: in a greenhouse with tomato at
DHAID Research Station. Right: in the open field at MIRAK farm

4.6 Green Beans:
Green beans are an important vegetable crop, grown in open field and in
greenhouses. Green beans covered an area of 36.9 ha in Qatar, 0.44% of total
cropped area (DAWR, 2007b). Greenhouse area under green beans was 7 ha,
with a total production of 280 tons (DAWR, 2006/07). The total consumption
in 2007 was 1667 tons (Table 11). Local production covered only 12% of
consumption, requiring imports of QR 8.3 million.
Land productivity of green
beans was 4 kg/m2 un- der net-house and 6 kg/m2 in cooled greenhouse
(Table 12). No reliable records were available for open field production.
Water productivity was 10 kg/m3 for the cooled greenhouse but only 2 kg/m3
for the net-house.

4.7 Strawberry:
Strawberry is a popular fruit with increasing demand. Consumption during
2007 was 421 tons which all was imported with total value of QR 9.2 million.
While there is no recorded local production, there is in fact some limited
production which is consumed by producers and not sent to market.
Strawberry could be successfully produced in Qatar during winter and spring
months in open fields and in greenhouses. Land productivity of strawberry
was 2 kg/m2 from non-cooled green- houses in Qatar and 3 kg/m2 from
cooled green- houses in Kuwait. Water productivity was 4 kg/m3.
Strawberry under hydroponics. Left: in an open field at Mirak farm, UAE. Right:
under vertical hydroponic system at SAIC, Qatar

4.8 Musk melon:
Musk melon (sweet melon) is a popular crop in open fields as well as
greenhouses in Qatar. As reported by DAWR, musk melon covered 145.5 ha
which is 1.74% of total cropped area in Qatar. Greenhouse area musk melon
was 2.6 ha with a total production of 204 tons. Total consumption in 2007 was
2532 tons while local production was only 284 tons. About 2248 tons were
imported with a value of QR 7.6 million. Land productivity was 4 kg/m2 in
open fields at AQAPC, Qatar, and in non-cooled greenhouses in UAE. Water
productivity was 5 kg/m
in open fields.


The implementation of Hydroponic Greenhouses for the development of an
efficient and productive sustainable agriculture, specially designed for arid
environments like in Qatar and other Gulf regions, whose products are
continuously demanded by the most discerning international markets.
The success of developing a hydroponic greenhouse in arid horticulture
involves much more than the knowledge of choosing the design of structures,
facilities, technologies and greenhouse construction. There should be a
thorough knowledge of entire business, from the choice of crop, to product
placement in Qatari market. This takes into account not only the crop specific
factors, but also local conditions, technical facilities and infrastructures, climate
control and other factors that may be considered relevant. This aims to optimize
cost efficiency, crop quality and productivity, and thus increase profitability.
This method of developing Hydroponic Greenhouses is based on advanced
technology seeking incomparable yield rates, minimizing the production risks
and operational costs, still beating the most challenging demands of
sustainability. All the equipment and facilities required will provide the means
to achieve not only high yields, but the highest rates of marketable use at top
quality standards, and the control of the multiple variables affecting the
production, such as climate conditions, substrate less hydroponic growing
system, greenhouse isolation, plant self-defence strengthened, fast reaction to
fertigation adjustments are some of its benefits.

A fundamental attribute of the greenhouse is the positive effect that it implies
in environment with respect to outstanding water management (no waste
generated), minimum use of agrochemicals, organic production, no
contamination of soil, and maximum use of natural ventilation, among other
features (NGS, 2014).
To start off a hydroponic farming in Qatar, there are 4 types of systems to build
greenhouses whose main features are:
x New generation of greenhouses. A kind of greenhouse especially suitable
for arid areas, with design and materials of new generation. The big height
marks a big interior volume and a positive effect on the stability of internal
climate conditions. The union of natural ventilation and Dry Air Cooling
System (DACS) makes the most advanced and efficient greenhouse (NGS,
x Dry Air Cooling System (DACS). A unique designed system, that would
set a landmark in the way greenhouses are cooled in future, based on dry
air, with no consumption of water during operation and nondependent of
ambient humidity for cooling efficiency. The system overcomes the critical
constrains of the evaporative systems currently used in GCC region, such
as the use of water, and the high humidity levels in the ambient (NGS,
x NGS Hydroponic System. The main characteristics and advantages of
NGS system are: substrate less, 100% recirculating nutrient solution,
lightness, oxygen uptake optimized, root growth promoted and facilitated
by a big volume available, standard irrigation equipment, easy to use (NGS,
x Versatility of the NGS Hydroponic System. It is important to highlight
the possibility of applying this system to a wide variety of crops such are:
Tomato, Cherry tomato, Cucumber, Eggplant, Pepper, Zucchini, Aromatic
Plants, Watermelon, Melon, Strawberry and Lettuce varieties (NGS, 2014).

A multi-chapel type greenhouse with straight wall designed according to the
UNE 76-208-92 norm regulation (Spanish normative for metallic structures of
multi-span greenhouses covered with plastic film), adapted to the UNE-EN-
13031-1 norm regulation
(European Normative for design and construction of
commercial production greenhouses) (ULMA Agricola, no date).
Its robust modular design allows supporting different types of crops and
additional elements such as thermal screens, irrigation pipes, etc. (ULMA
Agricola, no date).
The greenhouse structure is composed of tubular parts assembly, prefabricated,
seamless and made with premium materials, allowing easy and quick assembly
(ULMA Agricola, no date).
In addition to the structure itself, the greenhouse has a series of hard points that
enable its complete immobility (ULMA Agricola, no date).
The greenhouses structure has been calculated for the worst conditions and has
been tested under these conditions and higher ones obtaining satisfactory
results. For the manufacturing of the pieces of greenhouses the materials used
are of only the best quality, and they have been designed by means of cutting
edge techniques.
Multi chapel greenhouse with straight lateral walls designed according
to the UNE 76-208-92 norm (Spanish normative for metallic structures).
The structure is made of A-37 steel grade of 30/40 kg/mm², according
to the DIN 1623 norm (German National Standard).
Lateral and central posts in 80x60x3mm heat galvanized tubes
according to UNE-36130/76 norm and ASTM-525/83-G-90 norm
(International standards organization).

Curved arches in ø60mm and 1.5mm de thick tubes, galvanized
SENDZIMIR (galvanized steel).
Crop support bars in ø32mm and 1.5mm thickness tubes, galvanized
Strap and Braces in ø32mm and 1.5mm thick tubes galvanized
Central Gutters in SENDZIMIR galvanized of 500mm length and 1.5
mm thick.
Lateral Gutters in SENDZIMIR galvanized of 475mm and 1.5 mm
Reinforcement that will reinforce the crop supporting bar and the
principal arch of ø32mm and 1.5mm thick.
The fixation of the unions will be achieved by using steel screws of 8.8
grade, whose traction resistances are of 50 y 80 kg/mm², according to
DIN-264-4 norm.
Greenhouses are manufactured using only galvanized steel by SENDZIMIR or
hot dip process, including the accessories.
In addition to the structure itself, these greenhouses have a series of hard points
that enable its complete immobility.

Dia.7. Greenhouse-General view
The design of the type of foundation is very conditioned for functional reasons,
since the structural requirements of the facilities are not very high, because it is
lightweight structures supported on high ground bearing capacity. The features
of the structure and foundation of the greenhouses proposed are the same.
Nevertheless, the floor is different for the tomatoes and Lettuce.
Dia.8. Foundations detail

In the Lettuce greenhouse, the floor is covered with an anti-weed mesh on all
extension, with the exception of the central corridor made in reinforced
The Tomatoes and Cherry greenhouses designed to works 12 months, are
partially buried and needs a raised floor made in sandwich panel, which is
installed, respect ground level after excavation, to 0.90 m in their lowest level,
and to 1.30 m in their higher level. So is possible to make a basement what is
capable to harbour the water bags of refrigeration system.
Sandwich panel is screwed to IPE beam, which is supported on metallic erect
supports made in hollow profile. Those supports are variable height, according
to their location in the greenhouse, because so it achieves 2% slope. That slope
is necessary to get a right drainage for the line of crop.
The sandwich panel raised floor is composed by:
Sandwich panel 60 mm
Hollow profile supports by 60x60x2mm galvanized SENDZIMIR.
IPE 80 Beams heat galvanized
Furthermore, it will be installed 2 corridors of 4-meter width made in reinforced
concrete. There will be located at same level that raised floor. The corridor is
designed to resist the forklift truck pressure.

The materials selected for covering the greenhouse are as follows:
Frontal and lateral walls
Cellular polycarbonate (6 mm)
Fixed covers top roof
Undulating polycarbonate (0.8 mm)
Frontal and lateral ventilation
Top roof ventilation
-insects netting 10x16
Table 20. Greenhouse Cover Materials
In the design and construction of greenhouses in arid climates, specifically in
Qatar (where many materials like glass have been discarded for such a hot
climate) leads to the choice of Polycarbonate as the most suitable material for
covering the greenhouse.
The polycarbonate is a rigid plastic material, with high resistance to weathering
and impacts, allows good light diffusion, and is a good thermal isolator.
Also it is lightweight and easy to handle and place, and is not dangerous for
breakage, as opposed to what occurs with other materials.
Furthermore, the polycarbonate plates have a unique UV2 protection treatment
on both sides so that confers exceptional resistance to aging.

The main features and comparative advantages of the use of cellular
polycarbonate over other materials (like glass) are:
o High impact strength and stiffness. Delivers up to 250 times the impact
resistance of glass and reduce the risk of breakage from wind,
sandstorms, hail and other extreme weather.
o High light transmission, enhancing sunlight coming from roof.
o Excellent UV- and flame resistance, long-term keeping its optical
qualities under harshest environmental conditions.
o Excellent thermal insulation due to its multiwall configuration. The
thermal transmittance or U-Value is only 3.5 W/m
o Temperature resistance. Keeping excellent retention of impact strength
and stiffness at elevated temperatures, even over an extended period.
This material has a continuous use temperature rating of -40°C up to
o Safety in handling.
o Highly lightweight, being 50% lighter than glass.
o Requires less and thinner profiles compared to heavy glass panes which
increase surface area that light comes into the greenhouse.
o Reducing transport and labor costs, facilitating easy and fast
The main features and comparative advantages of the use of undulating
polycarbonate are:
o High light transmission: with a rate up to 90%.
o High impact resistance, being 250-300 times of ordinary glass and
30 times of acrylic plate to the same thickness.
o UV protected surface-ageing resistance: It is co-extruded one layer
UV on one side preventing ultraviolet rays from passing through,
which has an effect of good weather resistance.

o Light weight. - Only half weight of ordinary glass, it is saving the
costs in transport, unloading, installation, and supporting
o Fire-retardant. - It can be self-extinguishing after being away from
the fire. Not toxic gases are produced during burning.
o Adapt to large temperature difference. - It has a continuous use
temperature rating of -40°C up to +100°C. Even in the harshest
environment, its properties, have no significant changes
Dia.9. Undulating polycarbonate
The Anti insect netting shall be placed on the greenhouse windows (laterals and
zenithal). Netting specially indicated for the prevention of all type of damages
and malformations in the harvests protecting these of the attack of larvae and
insects. These netting are made with monofilaments of HD (high density)
polythene and are treated with an anti-sunburn treatment.

Environmental monitoring is one of the key factors to obtain a suitable climatic
environmental that allows the proper development of the crops. To achieve this,
main parameters, depending on local weather conditions and the variations that
they can suffer anytime, must be controlled anytime. So, Greenhouses are
equipped with climate control system (NGS, 2014).
This system will receive all the information from the outside and inside of the
greenhouse, which will indicate every time the environmental conditions of the
crop (NGS, 2014).
The weather conditions in Qatar, with extremely high temperatures in the
middle of the day and high humidity conditions in the night, demands using
several climate systems to modify these parameters in order to have optimum
conditions of temperature, humidity and light of the crop. These parameters will
be controlled by a specifically designed climate monitoring centre.
The systems used for a correct environmental control are the followings:
Control Centre: Automatic climate control
Ventilation system. At night, when humidity is higher, greenhouse will
be closed and it will be acclimatized using a dry air system.
Thermal Screen System. A screen system that will be extended when
sunlight rays are dangerous to the plant.
Refrigeration system (Dry Air Cooling System DACS)

The Automatic Climate Control software monitors and controls every
environmental parameter, being, at the same time, the responsible for the
commissioning of the other systems. From the temperature, light, humidity and
wind (direction and speed) data given by an outside weather station and other
sensors inside the greenhouse, the programmed software with parameters of
action, evaluates and decides the correct operation at all times.
That software, will allow visualizing, in real time, all that is happening at the
farm. This system is able to transmit the information anywhere, and to receive
the appropriate orders for modifying the parameters of the other systems.
Depending on crop and weather conditions the different systems will activate
from the Control Centre, whose main features are as follows:
Control: two sides top ventilation, lateral windows, thermal screen and
Weather station is measuring: wind speed, wind direction, rain detector,
outside air temperature, external solar radiation and humidity.
Programs of climate handling: the installation of a PC is anticipated in
which the programs will settle to handle to the climate and the irrigation.
To this same computer all the controllers will be connected to integrate
the whole climate and irrigation data, in order to centralize the control and
handling of all the installed equipment.
The natural ventilation is one of the key factors in the environmental control
in greenhouses.
The climate control system will automatically manage the closing and opening
of all the windows depending on different parameters: temperature inside the
greenhouse; outside temperature, direction and speed of the wind; and the
relative humidity.

The greenhouses are equipped with two types of openings:
x ZENITHAL ventilation system: The central top roof ventilation is on
every bay at the centre of each arch. This automatic opening system allows
quickly opening and air regeneration.
Dia.10. ZENITHAL ventilation
x Lateral ventilation system with a frontal and lateral automatic ventilation
system of each module with plastic roll up.
Dia.11. Lateral ventilation
The greenhouses are equipped with an inner shading screen. It will allow
mitigating the effect of solar radiation and the temperature in the middle of the
day. Also the performance of the screen will be programmed to the proper
expelling of the hot air out the greenhouse.

The installation of this screen system will meet the following characteristics:
It is composed of polyethylene strips to provide an appropriate shadow;
this screen is drip-proof and anti-UV.
It is white colour and has open structure to enhanced light diffusion and
shading. On warm days it protects, cools and brings light to the plants
from many more angles (stimulating growth). During the night, it helps
reduce radiated heat loss, minimizing the formation of dew on the crop
and reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Their unique knitted structure
reduces condensation and allows them to be bundled to a small size for
maximum available light.
Its special design ensures accuracy in the assembly, as they are made up
of a high quality of mobile parts that must maintain the distances precisely
along the whole run.
Dia.12. Greenhouse Components

The greenhouses are equipped with a special refrigeration system (DACS).
It will be installed in order to keep the correct temperature of the crops.
DACS is a specifically system designed based in five key concepts:
1. No consumption of water to cool the greenhouse.
2. No bringing additional moisture in the greenhouse.
3. Focused on plants, not in cooling unnecessary space in the greenhouse.
4. Complete automation and integration.
5. Maximum efficiency.
Dia.13. DAC refrigeration System

DACS is an automated smart cooling system capable of deciding when to
provide cold water, dry air or natural ventilation, adapted to the specific
conditions of temperature and humidity of Qatar.
This system aims to decrease the environmental temperature of the greenhouse
and the nutrient solution temperature in order to optimize crop development.
Due to Qatar high temperatures, it is required to cool both the plants and the
nutrient solution:
Cooling the nutrient solution. - One of the main factors in hydroponic
growing systems is the temperature of the nutrient solution. The optimal
values for irrigation water temperature are between 18-22ºC. In this
temperatures range, the root system has the optimal nutrient uptake.
Likewise, the concentration of oxygen in the nutrient solution decreases
with the increase of temperature. With temperatures over 22ºC the low
concentration of oxygen produces a deficient uptake of nutrients by the
plants and lower root system development, with the correspondent
problems in the overall plant development.
Cooling plants temperature. In the case of Tomatoes and Cherry's
Modules, this system is used to cool air through the cool air generated
inside basement. For it, it is built a closed basement between ground floor
(excavated) and the greenhouse floor (made by sandwich panel), in which
are installed water bags. These bags store cold water capable to cool the
air inside the basement. Through fan coils, the air inside basement is forced
to rise, and through existing groove in sandwich panel, it passes from
basement to inside greenhouse where the plants are cooled.
In the case of Lettuce greenhouse, the lowering the temperature is achieved by
directly cooling the greenhouse air through the heaters and the chiller.

The crop system to be implemented known as NGSTM System, mainly
characterized by the total absence of substrate and its 100% recirculating
system (NGS, 2014).
The NGS system represents the most advanced alternative to the traditional
farming and other hydroponic systems of special interest for intensive farming
areas with lack of water, which enables cultivation in poor soils (NGS, 2014).
Total recirculation of the nutrient solution represents a huge saving of water
and fertilizers. These advantages are increased by the absence of substrate
which facilitates crop management and represents a significant savings for the
farmer (NGS, 2014).
This unique hydroponic system has some important benefits as complete
control of crop management, better post-harvest quality and preservation, and
higher productivity and profit (NGS, 2014).
The comparison of NGS system with "traditional" hydroponic systems in
different substrates shows many advantages, among which may highlight two:
x The very significant savings in water
consumption due to NGS system consist
of closed irrigation drainage systems with
no waste products (NGS, 2014).
x Its capacity to induce the development of
strong rooting systems, which produces
plants with maximum productive
potential and resistance against diseases,
with the respective savings in pesticides
and the respective improving of the
Integrated Pest Management (NGS, 2014).

This system consists of that the plants develop the root system inside a
multilayer trough, by that is made circulate a nutritious solution (NGS, 2014).
From the time the nutrient solution is delivered by the irrigation system until it
reaches the last band (collector), we are making available to the roots all the
elements essential for plant nutrition, water, nutrients and oxygen.
At the same time, the nutrient
solution performs a second
function, which is the removal
of undigested ions or
compounds secreted by the
roots which are in the boundary
layer around said roots
(rhizosphere), contributing to
renew the gases involved in breathing of the roots (O2 and CO2). In case of
using a hot nutrient solution (winter) or cooled (summer), the nutrient solution
also facilitates the exchange of heat with the root system (NGS, 2014).
The roots, once they have passed the
root ball at found when performing
the transplant, reach the first inner
layer, from where they are guided by
the movement of water for the slope
of the band, to the nearest perforation
that allows them descend to the
bottom layer. This process is repeated as many times as inner layers having the
multi-band, in this way, the system is easily adapted to different crops. It is
based on the movement of a nutrient solution, through the interior of a set of
bands of polyethylene placed one inside another in such a way that the nutrient
solution, after travelling a longer or shorter section according to different
models, it passes from one band to another, through perforations arranged in
the bottom or the sides of the inner bands (NGS, 2014).

The NGSTM Hydroponic System has several comparative advantages,
especially in environmental protection terms (NGS, 2014) as is shown in the
following table:
The basic elements of the NGS system are the following:
Multilayer trough and NGS Support structures: -
The system is created from a masterful piece, the multilayer trough,
specifically designed to lodge the rooting system of the plants and to facilitate
them to reach its optimal development (NGS, 2014).
It is made of a series of interconnected layers, which create a circuit at different
levels, generating small cascades, whose main mission is to favour the
oxygenation of the nutrient solution (NGS, 2014).
Savings in labour
Versatile to install
Higher planting densities
Better management
Earlier crops
Best quality
Better taste
Longer shelf life
Higher uniformity
No waste
Recyclable materials
Decrease consumption of: water,
soil and water disinfection
chemicals and fertilizers

Dia. 14. Design of the multilayer trough
One of the main virtues of
NGS system is its capacity to
induce the development of
strong rooting systems, which
result in plants of maximum
productive potential and
resistance against diseases
(NGS, 2014).
The NGS supports structures provide rigidity and protection to the multiband,
existing different types of supports (metal parts), depending on the function of
each one of them. Two types of support are used according to the role, those
that provide rigidity (Steel Latticework H-23) and those who serve to support
(Support structures "M"). To ensure that the water flows back to the
recirculation tanks, the supports will be made at a 2% slope (NGS, 2014).

The following table shows a data resume for the Greenhouses (NGS, 2014):
Module Tomato Cherry
Module Lettuce
10,080 10,080
Nº (units)
Width (m)
Length (m)
Distance between CL (m)
CL by tunnel
Total CL
Length (m)
Total lines (m)
PLANTS (2 per position)
Distance between plants
Total plants
Density (plants/m
40 cm
20 cm
Table 21: Data resume for Greenhouses
The mobile support
installation type is
configured in groups of 6
crop lines joined as a
block by the base
The blocks can be moved
laterally thanks to rails
and wheels placed at the
ends of the crop lines. This way, all blocks can stand together, as empty space
for corridors can be displaced by the movement of the blocks as needed. The
blocks are moved very easily by hand. This configuration provides maximum
density of plants, as the whole area can be covered with crop lines, and corridor
area is kept minimum at user's convenience (NGS, 2014).

Dia. 15. Detail of installation of the lines
The recirculating irrigation is specifically adapted to NGS hydroponic system.
A primary pipelines system will be installed for supplying and secondary
pipelines system for the drainage. Irrigation is made focused in each plant.
Every plant will have a dripper that will provide the correct dosage. NGS
system provides drainage collectors at the end of the line to connect with the
drainage pipelines (NGS, 2014).
Every crop has different needs of nutrients and irrigation, so each one will have
an independent cistern. This will be controlled by only one software, which
will control the nutrient level in each cistern every moment. The irrigations
time and duration will be programmed depending on the crop (NGS, 2014).

This irrigation system allows planning the "irrigation on request". It is based
on the measurement of instantaneous consumption of the crop by the
installation of two volumetric counters, one at the entrance of the pipe leading
the nutrient solution towards the NGS System and another to the output of a
standard cultivation line (NGS, 2014).
The intermittent application of irrigation, with shorter or longer cuts depending
on time of year and time of day, contributes to improve the production and
quality of the harvest. Furthermore, due to improved oxygenation offered to
the roots, it not only allows a considerable saving of electricity, water and
fertilizer, but also contributes to improve the absorption of nutrients during the
circulation period (NGS, 2014).
In NGS system, all the water that has been not absorbed by the plants is
collected in the drainage tanks, in which drainage water is mixed with clean
water and the levels of E.C., pH and fertilizers will be adjusted again; this water
is ready for the fertigation again (NGS, 2014).
Due to the characteristics of recirculating system and the induced oxygenation
through the NGS hydroponic system, it is not necessary to install any UV
system or any other for disinfection (NGS, 2014).

The Hydroponic farming can be established gradually in the Gulf Region and
initially by building a reasonably small greenhouse, approximately 1000m2 in
size and by observing its operation in a specific time can give a clear picture
about how fruits and vegetables can be grown in Qatar region.
Layout of the proposed program of work is as follows:
Task Name
Facility Preparation works and finding
Selecting the type of Hydroponics - Lab
Plant Selection
Construction of the Hydroponic Pilot
Greenhouses (approx. 1000m2)
Planting in small Area - First Harvest
Investigate the Plant Growth and Quality
Planting in entire Area - Full Harvest
Record Production per Square meter
Evaluate the cost of production
Table 22: Program of Work

Figure 2: Gantt Chart for the development of an approximately 1000m
Hydroponic Greenhouse

1. Plants, fruits and vegetables can be produced on land where the farming
conditions are not ideal to grow any food bearing plants, as the system of
hydroponics is based above the ground. The fruits and vegetables produced
will be of very high quality and will be healthier.
2. The production of fruits and vegetables are chemical free and the cost of
production will be less than the cost of importing fruits and vegetables
from other countries.
3. There will be very less wastage of water as the water used is very less
compared to the traditional way of farming and the water is recycled in
hydroponics so the wastage of water is negligible.
4. As, the state of Qatar is a wealthy nation and there is no issue of land, large
number of greenhouses can be built.
5. There can be plenty of production of fruits and vegetables which can be
available throughout the year independent of the season in which the crops
are normally grown in traditional way of farming.
6. The Qatar Nation will be self-sufficient and, the Nation will not have to
depend on imports from other countries, as far as fruits and vegetables are

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ASTM: ASTM International (International standards organization) is an
international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary
consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems,
and services.
Aquifer: A body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.
Brackish: Brackish water or briny water is water that has more salinity than
fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater
with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers.
CLONEX Rooting Gel: It is a gel, far safer than liquids or powders because
it cannot splash or blow about, unlike liquids and powders.
DAWR: Department of Agricultural Water Research
DIN: German national standard (DEUTSCHES INSTITUT FÜR
E uent: liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea.
Fertigation: It is the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments, and other water-
soluble products into an irrigation system.
Horticulture: The art or practice of garden cultivation and management.
: A hydrogen atom is made up of a proton and an electron. This means that
when a hydrogen atom loses its electron it is just a proton. This is why the
symbol for a proton and a hydrogen ion is just H
ICARDA: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
IPE: European standard universal I beams
Monofilament: a single strand of man-made fiber.
OF: open field, CGH, NCGH: cooled, non-cooled greenhouse, SAIC: Al
SULAITEEN Agricultural Industrial Complex, AQAP: Arab Qatari
Agricultural Production Co, ORS: OTTORIA Research Station
pH: Potential of Hydrogen (pH) is a logarithmic measure of concentration of
hydrogen ions or protons (H+), in a solution. pH varies in the range of 1 to 14.

Protected Agriculture (PA): It is defined as "modification of the natural
environment to achieve optimal growth"
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride
RH: Relative humidity (RH) directly influences the water relations of plant
and indirectly affects leaf growth, photosynthesis, pollination, occurrence of
diseases and finally economic yield.
Rhizosphere: The rhizosphere is the narrow region of soil that is directly
influenced by root secretions and associated soil microorganisms.
Rockwool: a fibrous material that looks like spun glass, made from molten
rock or slag by passing a blast of steam through the fluid; mineral wool: it is
used for insulation, especially in buildings.
SENDZIMIR: It is a process (named after Tadeusz SENDZIMIR) is used to
galvanize a steel strip by using a small amount of aluminum in the zinc bath
and producing a coating with essentially no iron-zinc alloy. The process
guarantees high resistance and durability characteristics.
Styrofoam: Styrofoam is a type of polystyrene (a type of plastic) foam that's
light yet strong. It's often used to make take-out coffee cups and packing
Tertiary: Tertiary treatment is the advanced treatment process, following
secondary treatment of waste water, that produces high--quality water.
Tertiary treatment includes removal of nutrients such as phosphorus and
nitrogen and practically all suspended and organic matter from waste water.
t/ha: tons per hectare
UNE 76-208-92, UNE 76-208-92 and UNE-36130/76 normative: Spanish
normative for metallic structures of multi-span greenhouses covered with
plastic film.
UNE-EN-13031-1 normative: European Normative for design and
construction of commercial production greenhouses.
K: watts per meters squared kelvin
Zenithal: situated at or near the zenith (direction of any point from the center

Q1) Has there been any previously work done on Hydroponic Farming on large
scale in Qatar?
Q2) As the method of Hydroponic Farming is new in Qatar, will the
Government of Qatar adopt this method of growing fruits and vegetables?

Q3) Even though Qatar is a wealthy nation, will the Government of Qatar
approve the expensive budget for developing huge and plenty of greenhouses
to carryout Hydroponic Farming on Large scale?
Q4) Will there be good quality of fruits and vegetables produced
Hydroponically to meet the people's satisfaction residing in Qatar?

Q5) Is it feasible to manage, control and monitor the production of fruits and
vegetables produced Hydroponically on large scale throughout the year?
End of Report
78 of 78 pages


Hydroponics. Building Greenhouses and Hydroponic Farms to Secure and Flourish Food in Qatar
Sheffield Hallam University
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Yaseen Rajpurkar (Author), 2016, Hydroponics. Building Greenhouses and Hydroponic Farms to Secure and Flourish Food in Qatar, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/367403


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