The Dutch horticultural sector consists of over 10,000 hectares of ‘solar collectors’. In the future the Dutch greenhouses offer enormous opportunities to supply complete sustainable horticulture. The greenhouse sector may even become a supplier of sustainable heat and electricity. The principle “Greenhouse as Energy Source”.
Extensive use of solar heat and renewable electricity generation with a new generation of solar systems, combined with clustering of companies, are the main ingredients of a sustainable horticultural sector that is independent of third parties in its energy supply. This is the vision of Nature and Environment (Natuur en Milie) and LTO Glass Kracht which are promoting this theme jointly. The transition to sustainable energy concepts must enable entrepreneurs to implement a 45% CO2 reduction in 2020.
For the production of flowers, vegetables and plants you need heat, cooling, light and CO2 in optimal proportions. To meet these demands a lot of natural gas and electricity used. The Dutch greenhouse industry is an energy-intensive sector. 3% of the electricity in the Netherlands is used as growth light for production and quality improvement and 10% of the gas in the Netherlands is used for heating greenhouses.
Technical developments and innovations in the horticultural sector for decades have lead to more energy efficiency; in 2005 efficiency increased by 46% over 1980. This is achieved by an increase in output per unit of energy. The absolute CO2 emissions from the sector in 2005 is limited and can be compared with 1990. The recent development of (semi-) closed greenhouses is a major breakthrough for sustainable energy supply to the greenhouse.
The transition for the horticultural industry to work towards sustainable energy is economically driven. Also for the future it`s important to continue to produce at a reasonable cost with a secure source of energy and in a way that the society accepts the production methods, by its energy conservation and conversion to renewable energy is therefor crucial.
CO2 reduction of 45% by 2020 compared to the CO2 output of 1990 futher on they want to have the CO2 reduced with 75% by 2030. This should be achieved by energy savings the following actions will be taken untill 2020:
(Semi-) closed greenhouses
Natural gas CHP;
Clustering of glasshouse;
Climate Neutral (closed) cash;
Electricity supplier kas spectrum selective solar cells; see earlier article Elkas
Bio-CHP (only second generation biomass);
Clustering of glasshouse;
Principles for achieving the goal are:
The horticultural sector which will be in transition for 10-15 years will economically not deteriorate and any alternative non-fossil fuels have no negative environmental effects.
In various parts of my web blog you can find more information about technologies used to achieve the ambitions set for the horticulture in the Netherlands, but it s also important for other countries. Because the world horticultural sector which is currently competing cost price wise on a combination of
1 Energy for heating and cooling
2 Energy for logistics
3 labor costs
4 Pesticides and fertilizers
will be completely different as the cost for Energy in relation to heating and cooling will disappear.