The urban greenhouse that exploits the magic of light

Green revolution to grow fruit and vegetables

Stefano Chiocchini, inventor of Serranova, the urban greenhouse that exploits photoluminescence
Stefano Chiocchini, inventor of Serranova, the urban greenhouse that exploits photoluminescence

The scent of thyme and basil welcomes you as soon as you enter the greenhouse door: a three by three meter model made with 100% recyclable material (aluminum, glass curtain walls, recomposed wood) that glows fuchsia at night. Then you taste the strawberries: the flavor is that of the forest. The salad, which grows in 20-22 days against the seventy expected by mother nature, is very green, the leaves are smooth and tender.

The future is already here, in Ponte San Giovanni, a busy village in the Perugian suburbs on the E45 junction, where “Serranova” was born, the experimental system for growing fruit and vegetables, which exploits photoluminescence, a revolutionary green method, together to a mix of home automation, physics and biodynamics. Behind this project, which won the first prize as the best Italian green start-up at the 70th edition of Flormart in Padua, is Stefano Chiocchini, an architect and designer from Perugia. Friends including the mayor Andrea Romizi, call him Archimedes because of his wit as a scientist, which among other things, led him to the invention of this urban greenhouse, destined, he says, to revolutionize the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. the habits of consumers and chefs.

Serranova, after six years of work, has a patent filed with the Perugia Chamber of Commerce and is ready to enter industrial production. Six structures of various sizes have already been sold, calibrated for family use, condominium use and for larger communities. A model for a bar tender and for chefs’ kitchens will soon arrive on the market. «Imagine Mojito with freshly picked mint or pesto prepared with basil close at hand», Stefano points out. In this adventure, in addition to Chiocchini, there is also an agronomist, Sauro Alessandretti, and the marketing director Matteo Graziani. Architect, but how did you come to this discovery? “Almost all inventions are born by chance. So it happened with Serranova. I was designing a lamp for children using the photoluminescence system, which is the ability of rare earths, which exist in nature, to absorb light and then release it «.

And what happened?

“A silicone sheet came out that I accidentally left on a houseplant. Within a few weeks I could not believe my eyes: the plant had grown and had a much more intense color. I didn’t stop there ».

The case was studied in the laboratories of the Faculty of Agriculture of Modena and Reggio Emilia. After ten months of observation the conclusions: the photoluminescence system, by way of natural stimulation, allows plants to develop up to 3-4 times the norm of normal growth. To gain not only the size, but also the flavor and quality of the product. Inside the greenhouse, in fact, the reduction of the risks of attack by parasites, bacteria and various diseases is obtained without resorting to pesticides and chemical defenses “.

Benefits also in terms of flavors and nutritional values?

“With this method of cultivation we obtain an increase of about 20-25% of sugars and essential oils, greater strength and longer conservation”.

Can anyone who does not have a green thumb manage such a plant?

«The local and remote home automation control takes care of it, which follows all the phases envisaged by the Konnex protocol at the service of Serranova. In addition to the structure we also supply the various pots with the plants. In short, a turnkey service ».

Which market segment are you targeting?

«The structure, which costs from 25 thousand to 35 thousand euros, was designed for private use (families, condominiums, neighborhoods), communities, clubs (bars and restaurants). The amplified growth, in fact, guarantees a higher yield and consumption is extremely low ». An attractive combination for those who must also think about turnover “.

Patent obtained: when will it be put into production on an industrial scale?

«We are ready to go. We have already identified the production site that will always be here in Ponte San Giovanni, near my studio where the prototype was born. But the beginning will not be easy. Funding is needed to set up a plant and we have already invested a lot of money to set up the start-up. We are optimistic, however, because we think that the industrialization of Serranova will bring new employment for the area, about thirty jobs, while respecting the environment and its green vocation “.

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