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Energy transition in greenhouses

The Dutch horticultural sector is already circular: more and more energy is renewable, there are many savings, rainwater is collected to be used for production purposes. Less water, less pesticides is good for the environment, but also good for the business.

Also in Poland, this trend is visible. But considering the fact that many Polish greenhouses are heated with coal and coal will be sooner or later phased out, it is the right moment to think and implement circular solutions on energy in the greenhouse production.

Greenhouse and energy
‘Kas als energiebron’ is a programme of the Dutch government made together with growers and researchers in order to work on innovations and implement best results of diverse reaserch on energy in greenhouses. The whole programme is financed both by the Dutch government and the sector itself. At this moment 70% of greenhouse owners are member of the platform and almost 10% of the energy they use for greenhouse production is already completely renewable. The results of those research projects are public and every grower can check the announced solutions of the programme to improve own production.

The programme of ‘Greenhouse as energy source’ is made with growers and for growers. The focus lies on implementation, it has to be as practical as possible. On the moment growers are interested and involved at the very beginning of every project, they will also be interested in the whole process and results. In this way projects realized by the Programme perform better as they are oriented on practice, not theory. With this approach however more options are possible. Therefore, every project has to be flexible and open to conduct it in multiple options.

Energy costs in the Netherlands are high. In a greenhouse even 20% of the total production costs is caused by energy. Therefore, it is an important factor for every grower in the Netherlands. But also consumers ask questions on renewable energy, climate change and sustainability. Therefore also from consumers, there is a pressure to improve energy balance in a greenhouse. There are loads of reasons for grower to be interested in energy.

Already now there is the possibility to lower the energy usage around by 1/3 with the current technology and energy savings. The other 67% has to be done by new implementations. In the Netherlands thermal heat plays a major role. Other possibilities to change energy system are: green electricity, waste heat etc.

At this stage it is still impossible for the Dutch growers to run a greenhouse fully on renewable energy. But many of them follow (and this is a very good advice for every greenhouse grower) to follow the latest R&D on heating and on LED lighting solutions. Energy will be only more expensive, therefore it is good to think ahead.

One of the easiest ways to increase energy savings in a greenhouse is to use thermal screens, covers that isolate the production from outside. It doesn’t have to be an expensive material like glass. For plants less vulnerable for light artificial bubbles can also be a solution. Another way is to put an extra layer diffuse sheets, that will take care for extra isolation but won’t affect light transmission to the greenhouse.


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