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Using ventilated latent heat converters to reduce botrytis pressure

Controlling the humidity inside a controlled environment is one of the most discussed concerns amongst greenhouse growers. A solution that is more often noticed by growers are the so called Ventilated Latent Heat Converters (VLHC); These units extract humid air from inside the greenhouse and convert water vapour into water and heat by blowing the air through a matrix of desiccant-filled elements in a compact cooling tower. This results in a better climate, less disease pressure and energy saving. At the IPM Essen last month, Chaim Edelman of VLHC developer Agam told us that growers all over the world are showing more interest in this solution.

AGAM unit at Dutch organic tomato grower Greenhshield at the end of the cropping season.

The Agam VLHC unit allow the growers to realize a better internal ventilation by keeping the window vents closed. Keeping the vents close leads to less energy spills as well. Edelman: "As well as this the VLHC will convert the humidity of the plants in to energy; warm,dry air that can be used to heat the greenhouse again and save energy. Because the humid air is not only converted into dry warm air, but is also being treated and filtered; the level of fungus and other plant diseases in the greenhouse will decrease."

Agam unit at UK babyleaf grower Westland Nurseries

According to Edelman, more growers around the world are convinced of the system. "In the beginning many growers, especially the well respected Dutch growers, were quite skeptical of the system. But now that we have proven results from different research stations and practical trials, the system is gaining popularity. Dutch organic tomato grower Ruud van Schie of Greenshield is using the system ; he realized 60 % energy saving and reduced the botrytis pressure inside his greenhouse."

But also organic and non organic herb growers in Germany favour the system. "The UK babyleaf grower Westland Nurseries is using our VLHC now as well", Edelman said. According to him the return of investment of the VLHC is 1 year and a half. "The UK babyleaf grower achieved 52% energy savings with the system."

The VLHC of Agam is available via various distributors:Horticoop (Holland), Flextechnic (Danmark & Norway), Schettelig (Finland), NP Structures (UK) and the Chinese partners Dahan and Yongsoon.

Edelman furthermore stressed out that the unit also gains in popularity in the United States. "Not only in standard commercial greenhouse crops but also in the upcoming medicinal industry. Last year Kurt Parbst started to work with us as Business Development manager for Agam Technologies and with him we have a good, experienced crop and technical specialist on site."

For more information:
Agam Greenhouse Energy Systems Ltd.
Chaim Edelman
Tel. +972-8-9403050

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