CO2 for Greenhouses

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

CO2 for greenhouses is a proven technique that involves enriching the atmosphere inside greenhouses with controlled levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to enhance plant growth and yields. Plants utilize CO2 during photosynthesis, and increasing its concentration within a greenhouse can significantly boost productivity, leading to faster growth cycles, larger harvests, and improved crop quality.

Impact on climate action

CO2 for Greenhouses utilizes captured carbon dioxide to enhance plant growth, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-derived CO2 and mitigating emissions. By repurposing CO2 in agriculture, it not only boosts crop yield but also fosters a sustainable ecosystem, contributing positively to climate action by offsetting carbon emissions and promoting greener practices.


The core concept behind CO2 enrichment for greenhouses is simple:

  • CO2 as a Plant Nutrient: CO2 is a key ingredient in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy. Increasing CO2 levels within a controlled environment like a greenhouse can enhance photosynthetic activity.
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA): Greenhouses are examples of CEA, where environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and light are carefully controlled. This allows for precise CO2 enrichment to optimize plant growth.

TRL : 9

Prominent Innovation themes

  • CO2 Capture and Recycling: Innovative technologies are being developed to capture CO2 from various sources, such as industrial emissions or even directly from the air, and purify it for use in greenhouses, promoting a circular economy.
  • Precision CO2 Dosing: Advanced sensors and control systems are used to precisely monitor and adjust CO2 levels within the greenhouse based on plant needs and environmental conditions, maximizing growth and minimizing waste.
  • Integration with Renewable Energy: Pairing CO2 enrichment systems with renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines can further reduce the carbon footprint of greenhouse operations.
  • Smart Greenhouses: Integrating CO2 enrichment with other smart greenhouse technologies, such as automated irrigation and climate control, can create highly efficient and sustainable food production systems.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Carbon Capture for Greenhouse Enrichment
  • Enhanced Photosynthesis Techniques
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture Advancements
  • Sensor-Based CO2 Monitoring Systems
  • Adaptive CO2 Dosing Technologies
  • Sustainable CO2 Enrichment Practices
  • Precision CO2 Enrichment Methods
  • Environmental Impact Reduction Strategies
  • Next-Generation Greenhouse CO2 Systems
  • Automated CO2 Control Systems
  • Carbon Neutral Greenhouse Operations
  • Efficient CO2 Utilization Techniques
  • Smart Agriculture Solutions for CO2 Management
  • Optimal CO2 Levels for Crop Growth
  • Climate-Resilient Greenhouse Technologies
  • Eco-Friendly Greenhouse Gas Management

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • CO2 GRO Inc.:
    • Technology Enhancements: CO2 GRO Inc. specializes in CO2 delivery solutions for greenhouse environments. Their technology likely involves innovative methods for efficiently delivering CO2 to plants, enhancing photosynthesis and overall growth.
    • Uniqueness: They might differentiate themselves through proprietary CO2 delivery systems or advanced monitoring and control features tailored for greenhouse operations. Their solutions could offer increased crop yields, faster growth cycles, and improved resource efficiency.
    • End-User Segments: CO2 GRO Inc.’s target customers are likely greenhouse growers across various sectors, including agriculture, horticulture, and vertical farming. Their solutions could benefit both large-scale commercial operations and smaller-scale growers looking to optimize crop production.
  • Infarm:
    • Technology Enhancements: Infarm is known for its modular vertical farming systems that enable indoor agriculture in urban environments. While not solely focused on CO2 utilization, they likely incorporate CO2 management as part of their overall plant growth optimization strategy.
    • Uniqueness: Infarm stands out for its focus on urban farming and decentralized food production. Their modular farming units can be installed in various locations, including supermarkets and restaurants, offering fresh produce to consumers while minimizing transportation and storage costs.
    • End-User Segments: Infarm’s end-user segments include retailers, restaurants, and consumers interested in locally grown, sustainable produce. Their solutions cater to urban areas where space is limited, and demand for fresh, high-quality food is high.
  • Plenty:
    • Technology Enhancements: Plenty is known for its vertical farming systems optimized for indoor agriculture. While their focus may not be exclusively on CO2 utilization, they likely employ advanced environmental control systems to optimize plant growth, including CO2 management.
    • Uniqueness: Plenty distinguishes itself through its use of data-driven agriculture, precision farming techniques, and advanced automation. Their solutions aim to maximize crop yields, reduce resource usage, and provide fresh, flavorful produce year-round.
    • End-User Segments: Plenty’s target customers include retailers, restaurants, and consumers seeking locally grown, sustainable produce. Their vertical farming systems can be deployed in urban areas, bringing fresh, nutritious food closer to consumers while minimizing environmental impact.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Wageningen University & Research:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Wageningen University & Research are developing innovative technologies to capture CO2 emissions from industrial sources and utilize them to enhance plant growth in greenhouses. They are exploring various capture methods, such as chemical absorption and membrane separation, coupled with advanced cultivation techniques.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Wageningen’s approach involves integrating CO2 capture systems directly into greenhouse infrastructure, allowing for the efficient utilization of waste CO2 for crop production. They are also investigating the synergistic effects of CO2 enrichment and other environmental factors on plant physiology and yield.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Wageningen has significant implications for sustainable agriculture and food production. By utilizing CO2 emissions from industrial sources, greenhouse growers can enhance crop yields, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change.
  • University of California, Davis:
    • Technology Enhancements: UC Davis researchers are pioneering novel methods for capturing and utilizing CO2 emissions from agricultural and industrial sources to enhance greenhouse productivity. They are developing cost-effective capture technologies and optimizing CO2 delivery systems to ensure efficient and reliable supplementation of CO2 to greenhouse crops.
    • Uniqueness of Research: UC Davis’s research encompasses a holistic approach to greenhouse CO2 supplementation, considering factors such as crop physiology, environmental sustainability, and economic feasibility. They are conducting field trials to assess the performance of CO2-enriched greenhouse systems under real-world conditions.
    • End-use Applications: The research at UC Davis has practical implications for greenhouse growers, particularly in regions with limited access to CO2 sources or high energy costs. By utilizing captured CO2 emissions, growers can improve crop quality, increase yields, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuel-derived CO2.
  • Cornell University:
    • Technology Enhancements: Cornell researchers are exploring innovative technologies for capturing CO2 emissions from various sources and repurposing them for greenhouse applications. They are developing scalable capture systems and evaluating different CO2 delivery methods to optimize plant growth and resource efficiency in greenhouses.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Cornell’s approach integrates principles of bioenergy and carbon sequestration into greenhouse operations, creating synergies between CO2 capture, renewable energy production, and sustainable agriculture. They are also investigating the potential for integrating CO2 capture with other greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, such as methane oxidation.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Cornell has broad implications for greenhouse growers, agricultural policymakers, and environmental stakeholders. By harnessing CO2 emissions for greenhouse production, growers can improve crop yields, reduce their environmental impact, and contribute to the transition to a more sustainable food system.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

CO2 enrichment is widely implemented in commercial greenhouses around the world, with various systems and technologies commercially available. Greenhouse operators can purchase CO2 from suppliers or utilize on-site CO2 generation systems.