In our greenhouse, we are constantly trying to achieve the right temperature, the best humidity, the ideal level of CO2, and precisely enough light to enable our gerberas to grow at their best. A lot of technology is involved in this.
To maintain the right levels of humidity and heat, we used to work with ventilation and heating. Moist air was exhausted out of the greenhouse and fresh air was allowed in and was heated to enable it to absorb enough moisture once again. The drawback of this method is that it very much relies on the conditions outside. If you ventilate the greenhouse when the outside temperature is very cold, this leads to a huge loss of heat. A great deal of energy is needed to get the fresh air up to the right temperature again.
We now use the DryGair system at De Zuidplas. This dehumidifier makes it possible to regulate humidity levels from within the greenhouse. On cold or wet days and nights, we close the windows and screens to avoid unnecessary loss of heat. The DryGair system then removes excess moisture from the air and blows out warm, dry air. Thanks to this system, we can save as much as 30% to 50% energy.
With all our solar panels and our CHP (Combined Heat and Power system), our greenhouse is no longer just a place to grow our gerberas but also an important energy hub. An energy hub that benefits our company and our local environment. An energy management system ensures that everyone can reap optimum returns.
The precise details of how it works are quite complicated, but it boils down to this: sometimes the regional electricity grid has too much power supply and sometimes too little. On sunny days when the wind is blowing, for example, a lot of green power is generated. On the other hand, on dark days when there is no wind, everyone wants to use power – but there’s not much supply. This creates an imbalance on the electricity grid. It is at times like these that we can jump in. When there is not enough electricity available, we can supply extra power via our CHP. When there is too much electricity available, we can purchase extra power or temporarily switch off our solar panels. This is all done automatically and ensures optimum use of renewable energy.