Smart greenhouse

Smart Greenhouse is a testbed installed in CIHEAM-MAICh. We have created the Digital Twin of a greenhouse and using real-time data from sensors, researchers are able to monitor climatic parameters, detect changes in the GH environment and simulate/optimize different cropping models.


Greenhouse production allows monitoring of growth conditions for plants, since various micro-climate parameters can be controlled and regulated according to plant’s needs, throughout their life cycle. Nowadays, advanced and continuously developed technologies can be employed, in order to achieve maximum greenhouse climate control.

Smart greenhouses are equipped with technologies that allow data capturing and recording 24/7, with the use of sensors and communication technologies. Real time weather data deriving from the microclimate of the greenhouse, along with measurements of several plant parameters, can be used as a means to a better agricultural management. At the same time, stress-inducing effects than can lead to yield loss or reduced quality of the final product can be predicted and/or mitigated.

CIHEAM-MAICh has been employing its own greenhouses for research purposes, for over 20 years. The facilities are equipped with an open hydroponic system, where nutrient solutions can be provided to plants through a fully automated drip irrigation system.


In the framework of the IN-CRETE partnership Maggioli SpA provided CIHEAM-MAICh with sensors (purchased from Synelixis Solutions SA) enabling full monitoring of weather and soil conditions:

  • A meteorological station installed on the premises of CIHEAM-MAICh in Chania. The station carries a full set of instruments, such as a temperature sensor, rain collector, humidity sensor, pyranometer and anemometer, allowing for continuous recording of external weather data (i.e. temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, precipitation and barometric pressure).
  • Sensors monitoring greenhouse indoor microclimate conditions (air temperature, humidity and CO2 levels), enabling the user to take action when these variables reach levels that can be restrictive for plants’ growth.

All measured data (outdoors, indoors, growing media) are transmitted and archived in a communication platform offered both by Maggioli and Synelixis, which allows real time monitoring of the greenhouse production.

Experimental trials are scheduled to be conducted, using CIHEAM-MAICh greenhouses, where the growing medium for plants can be either soil (pot experiments) or substrates used in soilless cultivation (hydroponics). A set of sensors will record plants’ growing media parameters (temperature, humidity, pH, EC), ensuring that optimum plant growth is not inhibited.

  • Real-time information on weather and greenhouse characteristics coming from various sensors.
  • Creation of the Greenhouse “Digital Twin” enabling simulations and optimization scenarios for different cropping models.
  • Real-time analytics on operational conditions and crop status.