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Stone wool substrate

The clean and controllable stone wool-based growing solutions of Grodan promote the production of high-quality vegetables and plants. Further, cultivation on this growing medium is in line with the drive of Grodan to achieve a more sustainable world.

At the end of the 1960s, environmental objections against the increasingly intensive land use in the horticultural sector mounted. One result of these objections was that the commonly used soil disinfectant, Methyl Bromide, was prohibited by law. Likewise, steaming the soil, which was very expensive and labour-intensive, fell out of favour. In the search for an alternative, the parent company of Grodan, the Danish stone wool manufacturer Rockwool, in cooperation with a number of universities, investigated the possibilities of cultivation on stone wool substrate, eradicating the need for soil altogether. This was the solution the World had been waiting for: crops proved to grow extremely well on stone wool. The result was immediate increased production with less water and nutrients.

Shortly thereafter, Rockwool/Grodan in Denmark opened the first line for the production of stone wool substrate. Ten years later, a similar line was launched in Roermond. This production location grew into the biggest stone wool factory in the world. Roermond is where stone wool substrate was developed into what it has become today: a growing medium that enables growers to cultivate safe and healthy products sustainably, controllably and efficiently. 

Stone wool 
Stone wool is a natural product. It is made from Basalt, solidifiedlava spewed from the innermost depths of the earth. In the mid-nineteenth century, American geologists on Hawaii discovered a “woolly” material consisting of stone threads, which the local inhabitants were using to insulate their huts. This was a volcanic material, the product of red-hot steam being forced through liquid lava under high-pressure. 

To produce stone wool commercially, Grodan/Rockwool duplicated this natural process as closely as possible. Today, extracted basalt is re-liquefied in furnaces at a temperature of 1,500 °C. The liquid Basalt is then spun into threads in spinning chambers, and then congealed in a hardening kiln using hot air (230 °C) and compressed into wool packets, which are then cut into slabs, blocks or plugs and packaged in film. With factory processing, one cubic metre of basalt can produce approximately fifty cubic metres of stone wool.

The advantages 
The use of stone wool substrate offers many advantages. Thanks to the controlled manufacturing process, this growth medium is of a consistently high quality. The sterile production under extreme temperature ensures that the product is clean and sterile. Its unique hydrophilic fibre also makes the cultivation on stone wool substrate very easy to control. The grower can administer the amount of water and nutrients the crops need in a very directed and controlled manner, to achieve optimal growing results. Waste becomes a thing of the past. Efficient use of water and nutrients keeps yield per square metre high, and energy consumption per unit of product low. Additionally, the product is lightweight, making it easy to use. And last but not least, stone wool can be easily re-used. To sum up, it is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly product.

  • Constant, controlled quality
  • Clean: contains no contaminants 
  • Optimum control range 
  • High yield at high quality 
  • Saves on water and nutrients
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Easy to use
  • 100% recyclable
  • Sustainable and environmentally-friendly

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