Sunday, July 8, 2012

PSU DELFT DAY 5 - Energy Production in the Greenhouses - The Netherlands

Our students enjoyed Friday's trip to the North Sea and the beach. There was a bit of mist in the morning, but by the time we got to Monster (that is the actual name of the place) it was warm and playing on the beach was a nice reward for cycling the 18 miles through the cities and towns between Delft and the sea. It was quite a bit different for me than last year because the kids weren't with us on the ride. We had great weather (we couldnt say that last year) and the visit to the Greenhouse was enjoyable.

A few takeaways from the Greenhouse:

In the winter months they do quite a bit of warming, so energy consumption was a cost of doing business
Burning kerosene was the old way and plants that were near the burner grew faster (due to CO2
Now that CO2 is piped in to increase production, plants eat it up!
Tiny roots are still started by hand (mechanical processes have been developed in the past three years but the costs of the equipment are very high)
There are royalties for the creation of plant species of $0.06 cents (is that Euros?)
The greenhouse produces 3 million plants a year
The plants are now designed to be ready in les than 8 weeks (7 plantings a year)

Greenhouses in the Electricity Production Role
The greenhouse makes as much money on power generation (depending on prices and peak demands) as they do on their original core business.
The Dutch energy system is more robust because of all these local farmers burning CNG to provide power or using thermal sources. We asked about brown outs and they sort of shrugged it off as something they are unfamiliar with.

The biggest takeaways for me was the power production that they are involved in. A fascinating development and diversification of their business

Future considerations could be whether they will incorporate solar (they obviously use it naturally in the greenhouse) and storing energy in battery systems to address peak demands.

They do a bit of shipping from the facility and they have rucks thaf do this. Taking a look at the vehicles I noticed they have guards on the wheels to reduce the likelihood of cyclists getting pulled under a wheel.

No comments: