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Netherlands: First geothermal energy cucumbers harvested

Since the frost has disappeared from the Netherlands, René Kalter of breeding company Voorhof is back to using geothermal energy. At the neighbouring farm, the Vahl Bros, gas consumption has severely dropped as well since the geothermal installation being turned on. This week, the first geothermal cucumbers of the two farms were auctioned.

"It felt like I had to learn the game all over again," says René Kalter. "First we had a tube of 60 degrees going through the greenhouse. Now we have a second heat system with an average temperature of 45 degrees. With a much lower pipe temperature, but with more capacity, we can reach the same greenhouse temperature.” The second tube also ensures that the water with a lower temperature goes back into the ground.

René Kalter, Kees Vahl, and Radboud Vorage

The well provides geothermal energy to eleven hectares of greenhouses. The test phase began in March 2012, and the well went in full operation six months ago. "There were still a few things we had to adjust," says project director Radboud Vorage. "It concerned a few technical issues. But now the pump runs smoothly and we’re saving quite a bit of natural gas, around 80% I reckon. In the long run, we can probably achieve 70% on a daily basis."

The innovations so far have benefited cultivation. "Things just seem to be a little more efficient. The moisture is better kept within limits," says Kalter. Whether or not the production is actually higher, is not yet clear. But time will tell.

For more information:
Radboud Vorage
Greenhouse Geo Power

Publication date: 2/1/2013



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