The Solar Greenhouse: state of the art in energy saving and sustainable energy supply

G.P.A. Bot, N.J. van de Braak, H. Challa, S. Hemming, Th. Rieswijk, G. van Straten, I. Verlodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the solar greenhouse project was the development of a Dutch greenhouse system for high value crop production without the use of fossil fuels. The project was completed and the results are reported here. The main approach was to first design a greenhouse system requiring much less energy, next to balance the availability of natural energy with the system¿s energy demand, and finally to design control algorithms for dynamic system control. This paper discusses the first two design steps. Increasing the insulation value of the greenhouse cover was the first step towards a reduction in energy demand. The challenge was in maintaining a high light transmission at the same time. A first generation of suitable materials was developed. The realizable energy saving is almost 40 %. The next reduction in fossil fuel requirement was accomplished by capturing solar energy from the greenhouse during the summer months, storing it in an underground aquifer at modest temperatures, and finally using the stored energy during the winter months by using heat pumps. Then the total realizable energy saving is more then 60%. For sustainable energy supply per ha greenhouse at this low energy demand 32 ha biomass is needed, or 600 kW nominal wind power or 1.2 ha PV assuming storage via the public grid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-508
JournalActa Horticulturae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Energy storage
  • Insulating greenhouse cover
  • Optimal control
  • Sustainable


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