All commercial systems are active, in that some form of pump or feeding device is used to deliver fresh nutrient solution to the plants in an on-going basis. These systems are more productive and are therefore, the only type suitable for commercial production. Of the active systems available, they break down into either re-circulating or run-to-waste; run-to-waste are becoming less popular as environmental concerns and legislation restricts, or even prohibits, nutrient run off. However, if the run off can be managed to obtain a zero figure, these systems still have their place. The use of re-circulating systems maximise resource utilisation, but this is not always possible in certain circumstances. Re-circulating systems typically use one tenth of water, a fraction of the minerals and takes up from one third to one tenth the space consumed in traditional agriculture. There are a number of differing active systems available, but again these can be easily categorised into:

  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
  • Ebb & Flow (also known as, Flood & Drain)
  • Drip Fed Media Based Culture
  • Aeroponics
  • Raft Type Systems

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    Iain Reynolds

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