Extreme energy prices are a source of concern for many parties in the horticultural industry. However, Hans van den Heuvel with Gruppo AB stresses that a CHP system can offer more solutions than many growers are aware of. After all, Van den Heuvel explains, a CHP system does so much more than just provide a greenhouse with electricity, heat, and additional CO2. CHP systems serving greenhouses also play a very important role in integrating and maximizing the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
"Growers can have many benefits of their CHP also in this unstable market. Due to the presence of onsite thermal storage, CHP systems serving greenhouses help to stabilize the grid when there is a shortage of power by supplying power back into the grid," Van den Heuvel stresses. There are many suppliers that can provide growers with additional technology to decide whether or not to use the CHP system on a specific day, depending on the market price of electricity and the supply of other sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy.
Greenhouses with grow lights installed also have the benefit of using a CHP system to switch off the lights when needed, thereby shedding electrical load in order to minimize the power from the grid. This provides a low-cost means of providing grid-stabilizing services and allows growers to have an extra source of income.
"All these features are added to the traditional use of a greenhouse CHP, producing electricity, heat, and CO2. By engineering the traditional greenhouse CHP with the capability to be extremely flexible with all the new features, growers can combat the energy crisis in the most efficient way possible," Van den Heuvel concludes.
"In a world where the security of food supply is starting to play a more important role, the greenhouse sector is responding by going through growth. Increasing local food production is considered more and more important in many regions around the world. To facilitate this rapid expansion of the greenhouse sector, standardization of design, construction, and maintenance are increasingly important to build projects on time, on budget, and with the reliability of the product performing as expected."
"We need to listen to and understand the needs of the greenhouse farmer and discuss in depth the project requirements and possibilities in order to be the right partner to provide and support the CHP energy solution. By engineering the traditional greenhouse CHP with the capability to be extremely flexible with all the new features, we must use the experience built up over a long time in the industries we have served."