Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

System can make greenhouse energy self sufficient for 90%:

Solar system uses Fresnel lenses to heat greenhouse

Using a special lens to magnify the light in order to harness the sun's energy, Sika Energy's system has the potential to cover up to 90 percent of a greenhouse's heating needs. The Fresnel lenses, which concentrate energy from the sun into a focal point, heat water inside a pipe to a high temperature. The heated water is then transferred to a reservoir tank that growers can use to heat the greenhouse during the day and throughout the night.


“The system can heat water up to 90 degrees Celsius,” said Sika Energy's Cees Kattenberg. That temperature can be achieved because of the type of lenses Sika uses. In early trials, Kattenberg explained, more typical lenses were used, but they were bulky, expensive and couldn't generate enough heat to justify their drawbacks. They turned to Fresnel lenses, which are lighter and generate more power because they concentrate the sun's rays into a single point.

“The lenses we use are basically magnifying glasses,” said Kattenberg. “They burn in a line.” Further boosting the energy captured from the sun, the lenses rotate from East to West, following the path of the sun, and the pipes full of water on which the lenses are mounted rise and fall with the position of the sun in the sky. Kattenberg noted that they continue to run trials with the system, and an upcoming project has given them the opportunity to experiment with new features.

“We're working on a project that will have a bay that's over 100 meters long, and it will have nine lenses,” said Kattenberg. It will be Sika's first commercial project, and it will be installed in a bedding plant nursery. Future trials will include lenses that are twice as large that have the potential to heat the water in the system up to 180 degrees Celsius.

Cees Kattenberg at the 2013 OFA Short Course in Columbus, OH.

Kattenberg touted the cost-efficient nature of the system, noting that the cost to set up the system is a fraction of that of other solar energy systems. The lower investment for a big energy payoff is what makes the system so attractive. “The good thing about the system is that it works anywhere there's sun, even when it's cold out,” said Kattenberg. “As long as the sun shines, we can get energy.”

For more information:
Sika Energy USA
Cees Kattenberg
Dutch American Greenhouse Builders LLC
4653 North County Road 45
Owatonna, MN 55060 USA


Publication date: 7/26/2013
Author: Boy de Nijs



Other news in this sector:

3/15/2018 Keeping plant-cell motors on track
3/15/2018 Italy: Modern producers employ Mater-Bi films
3/14/2018 UV light provides novel method to improve crop performance and yield
3/14/2018 Vegetable specialists now deliver to people’s homes using Yape
3/14/2018 Opening Hazera Crucifer R&D Station
3/13/2018 USDA invests in $2.6 million in exploratory research
3/9/2018 New expanded Soil Moisture Measurement Catalogue
3/9/2018 Internet of Things cultivation boosts greenhouse horticulture
3/9/2018 India: Scientists unravel mechanism of stress tolerance in tomato
3/9/2018 Advanced agrotextiles support berry production growth
3/9/2018 Israeli technology increases tomato production in India
3/8/2018 Soon it will be impossible to steal from self-serve checkouts
3/8/2018 UK: The search is on for new innovation in agritech
2/28/2018 NL: New lightweight and insulating roof system for water tanks
2/28/2018 "Greenhouse 'conveyor belt' could advance food production"
2/26/2018 Self-driving lorries hitting the road
2/26/2018 Vietnam: HCMC to pay interest for hi-tech farms
2/23/2018 The importance of reliable and independent measurements
2/23/2018 US (VT): Making greenhouse operations, farms more energy efficient
2/23/2018 Momentum-based air flow: Better climate and growth