Overall Energy Analysis of (Semi) Closed Greenhouses

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    Natural ventilation to discharge excess heat and vapour from the greenhouse environment has serious drawbacks. Pests and diseases find their way through the openings; carbon dioxide fertilisation becomes inefficient and the inescapable coupling of heat and vapour release results often in sub-optimal conditions for either temperature or humidity. The present trend, therefore, is to reduce ventilation as much as possible, also in Mediterranean conditions. This relies obviously on improved means for diminishing the heat load and proper use of cooling equipment. Especially the latter can combine the benefits of cooling the greenhouse air with serious energy conservation. However, opposite to the clear benefits there are also serious investments associated with active cooling of greenhouse. Therefore, there is a growing demand for some computational tool that enables quantitive comparisons between the vast number of alternatives with respect to the different components of (semi) closed greenhouse systems. The benefits in terms of improved production (quality, ornamental value and quantity) are quite difficult to quantify, due to the complexity of the biological processes involved. On the energy side of the balance, however, since the physics of greenhouses, climate controllers and horticultural hardware can be described very well, it is quite possible to develop such a tool for predicting the energy consumption of a (semi) closed greenhouse for a wide range of horticultural and outside climate conditions. This paper gives an outline of such a tool and discusses some results. Just as an illustration, a number of quantitative effects are shown of changing the fraction of closed green¬house surface in a 1 hectare enterprise that consists of closed and non-closed compartments. This analysis is made for both a Dutch climate situation and a Mediterranean weather data set.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)811-818
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Issue number801
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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