With the demand for greenhouse-grown produce continuing to increase, DelFrescoPure is consistently looking for ways to become more sustainable. "Ensuring high-quality produce is available year-round. Implementing a Cogeneration power plant is the most efficient way to achieve that goal," they say. As of fall 2021, DelFrescoPure will be increasing their pre-existing Cogen system by 6.5 MW, for a total of 10+ MW across their facilities.
Cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) is the onsite generation of electricity from the use of natural gas. The byproducts of CHP are the heat that can be stored and used to create the desired microclimate within the greenhouse and CO2 that is used to fertilize the crops. The CHP units will additionally produce the electricity required to power the grow lights as well as the mechanical load of the facility. While electricity generation alone is typically 40% efficient in converting fuel to power, adding heat recovery to the equation can bring that efficiency to 90%, a reality that suits greenhouses well.
DelFrescoPure intends to use the electricity to power the lights at Via Verde Hydroponics. These grow lights allow for an extended growing season, making produce that would originally be grown in the summer available all year round. The heat harnessed by CHP will also be recycled to heat the greenhouses and meet all daily power needs. Being able to produce electricity more cost-effectively onsite also means DelFrescoPure does not have to worry about voltage fluctuation from the area maxing out the local grid. With electricity no longer being a concern DelFrescoPure is primed and ready for the 25-acre expansion currently underway.
“DelFrescoPure is excited to increase our Cogeneration Power units. We are very pleased to be working with Martin Energy again to install the new CHP technology and solutions they offer. The results from using the Cogeneration technology over the past three years have been great. We look forward to expanding the system so we can continue to provide fresh produce all year long.” said Carl Mastronardi, President of Del Fresco Produce.
Along with the financial benefits, CHP power is better for the environment. This method ensures that fewer resources are wasted and required to produce electricity. The extended growing season also reduces our carbon footprint by decreasing the need for local retailers to import high milage commodities. DelFrescoPure is taking a sustainable approach to providing consumers with the freshest items possible. CHP is perfectly suited for the greenhouse environment since it is able to harness all three attributes of the technology (electricity, heat & CO2). DelFrescoPure® will never have to worry about where their energy is coming from and can continue to expand as market demand increases.
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