optimisation in European greenhouses - GREENERGY
estimated that greenhouses cover an area of about 41000 ha in the
European Union, setting Europe as the biggest supplier of greenhouse
products in the world. At the same time, as Eastern European markets
open up, the EU is also becoming the biggest consumer of greenhouse
products in the world. The competitiveness of European growers is
however threatened by increasing fuel costs and competition from
growers outside of Europe with lower production costs. The main
contributor to production costs for European growers is from energy
consumption, thus the optimisation of the energy intensive systems and
operating procedures in existing greenhouse production will reduce
these costs. In addition, a reduction in energy consumption will also
help growers to contend with the increasingly restrictive environmental
regulations that affect the sector. In this project, the greenhouse
energy requirements for four different geographical areas within Europe
were investigated. A tool for auditing energy efficiency in
greenhouses, a set of technical improvement measures and a guideline
for the optimisation of energy consumption in European greenhouses was
developed and tested by a number of growers and advisors across Europe.
reduce the energy consumption in existing greenhouses with small
changes in configuration and operating procedures.
improve the competitiveness of European farmers and enable them to
contend with increasing fuel prices and with competition from producers
outside the EU.
decrease atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions and to assist growers
with compliance to current and upcoming environmental regulations.
initiate the adoption of modern management strategies such as
standardisation and benchmarking in the field of greenhouse agriculture.
responsible for the development of the Energy Auditing Tool, developed
in three parts. The structural specifications of the greenhouse and its
management (‘Reference Greenhouse Specifications’) define the variables
used within the ‘Core Calculation module’. The ‘Core Calculation
module’ uses energy balance and crop models to allow derivation of the
optimal greenhouse parameters for a given reference (baseline)
greenhouse. Thirdly, the ‘Graphical User Interface module’ displays the
results to the user in and easily accessible format. It allows the user
to save the profile of each greenhouse they assess for comparison and
running ‘what if?’ scenarios.
Dr Doug Warner