The Energy Balance and Energy-Saving Measures in Greenhouse Tomato Cultivation

A. Elings, F.L.K. Kempkes, R.C. Kaarsemaker, M.N.A. Ruijs, N.J. van de Braak, T.A. Dueck

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    Reliable and quick assessment of energy conservation measures in greenhouse cultivation supports growers in their operations. Such an overview should quantify the consequences of changes in energy flows for total energy consumption, amount and quality of production, and farm economy. Using tomato as an example crop, comprehensive energy balances were developed for a reference situation in The Netherlands. Solar radiation, primary and secondary heating circuits and CO2 from the flue gasses of the heating system were quantified as energy sources. Energy use for air and leaf temperature increase, crop photosynthesis, crop transpiration, as well as energy losses through the roof, walls and ground surface were quantified. Subsequently, the effects of 11 energy conservation measures were computed. Consequences for gas consumption and production were simulated with a greenhouse and a crop growth model, respectively, consequences for quality were assessed on the basis of expert knowledge, and economic consequences were simulated with a cost-benefit model. For tomato, most energy was saved by increased insulation of the greenhouse cover (23% saving) and lowered temperature set point (16%), followed by increased set point for air relative humidity, screen gap control in steps, and temperature integration (all about 5%). Fresh tomato production fell in most cases, except in case of increased light transmission by the greenhouse cover. Energy use efficiency was defined as the amount of energy required to produce a certain quantity of fresh harvestable product. Energy-conservation aims to decrease the energy use efficiency. Greatest gains were reached through insulation (-20%), lowered temperature set point (-12%) and improved light transmission (-8%). Improved light transmission resulted in the strongest increase of the balance of yield and costs (¿2.6, or 10%), followed by increase of RH set point, crop-based RH control, crop-based use of the energy screen, increased size of the thermal storage tank and reduction of crop transpiration (all less than ¿0.5). Although energy conservation reduces fuel costs, its implementation depends on the effects on production an overall economic profitability of the farm. Improved roof insulation, reduced temperature set point, screen gap control in steps, increase of the RH set point, temperature integration, and crop-based RH control are first candidates for (further) implementation. Other measures require prior technological advancements or fine-tuning
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Greenhouse Systems. Volume 1, Leuven, belgium, 12-16 Sptember 2004
    EditorsG. van Straten, G.P.A. Bot, W.Th.M. van Meurs, L.M.F. Marcelis
    Place of PublicationLeuven
    ISBN (Print)9789066050303
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventInternational Conference on Sustainable Greenhouse Systems -
    Duration: 12 Sep 200416 Sep 2004


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Sustainable Greenhouse Systems

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