Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Last commentsmore »

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




Blooming Breeders meeting at Vreeken Bouvardia

Dutch grower achieves energy savings after switching to DC

Vreeken Bouvardia is the first grower in the Netherlands who has switched to DC. This not so recent news involves more than the average person probably suspects - and that average person was represented by Blooming Breeders at a recent meeting. A group of about 30 people visited Jaap Vreeken's company to learn what is actually going on here. Harry Stokman of Direct Current, who co-supervises the project at Vreeken and is an expert in the field of energy supply, did a bold effort to explain what it entails.

With the new set-up of the electricity, the grower could be an example of one of the ways in which the energy supply of the future could be facilitated. This is nothing new for the select group of people who know what is going on behind the power points, for the general public however this is something incomprehensible. At the same time, that energy supply is changing rapidly.


Jaap Vreeken and Harry Stokman, in the greenhouse at Vreeken Bouvardia

It has everything to do with the way the global energy industry has been organized since the end of the 19th century. When the innovators of everything that has to do with electricity were pioneering and were faced with the problem of how energy could be distributed best, they opted for alternating current. With this AC, you can, as it turns out, transport higher voltage over larger distances than through direct current, which means more people could be connected to electricity.

Since then, the world has changed enormously. Over the past 100 years, that world has invested thousands of billions in building the AC network. By ignoring the technical implications we now live at a time when natural gas has to be phased out and all sorts of renewable energy sources and initiatives are being launched. This causes peak loads at one moment and shortages at the next moment, leads to headaches for the grid operator and also frustrates innovation. For example, Tesla recently wanted to install a few charging stations for cars, but was refused, because this would lead to insurmountable problems. "What is needed," Harry says, "is real-time local autonomous control. In other words: a clever power grid, a 'smart grid'. The technology for that exists and has been promoted for years, but until now not even a single one of such a grid has been realized. The simple reason is that nobody dares to do it because it is delicate."   



Own electricity first
With the installation of a DC grid, this vulnerability could be guaranteed better. In addition, it gives the local for local principle a new dimension. "We want to connect sources and users, and thus make it a kind of social network. Primarily it is important that power generated here is also consumed here, and the possible remainder is shared with direct neighbors. Moreover, it is important that what you generate now, is used now as much as possible. That is easier said than done for all sorts of reasons, but we should aim for that."

Harry has not figured out everything by himself; on a much larger scale and in many places people think about the energy supply of the future. Issues such as increasing the capacity of the grid - which means more copper, a costly affair - and the question of which source, which technology, who exactly and when, will have a share in that transition, present a huge question mark. "There is probably not one complete solution, more likely a handful of partial solutions. But why this project at Jaap Vreeken in horticulture is important is because a lot comes together here. In horticulture, a great deal of energy is used, but also supplied, in the electrical engineering field there are the companies that have an important position locally. Moreover, it is an exciting and complex pilot. We want to show that it can be done and that it is efficient, and that is why we are very grateful to Vreeken."



Less kWh
For Vreeken himself, the test means two things. Firstly, he says, innovation is important in itself. Dutch horticulture has a reputation and a position to uphold, and if he can contribute to this by participating in this test, he’s pleased. Secondly, a concrete saving in kWh has been realized. "After you have cut the stems, you have 'dead wood'. New stems will grow on it, but they require, especially in the beginning, only little light. By very controlled dimming - something that is much more efficient with the new infrastructure - we have reduced our electricity usage by a quarter." 

For more information, please contact Harry Stokman from Direct Current or Jaap Vreeken from Vreeken Bouvardia. More information about (the meetings of) Blooming Breeders you can find here.

Publication date: 7/9/2018

 


 

Other news in this sector:

7/10/2018 China: Scientists develop power-generating windows
7/10/2018 NL: Sustainability aspects of woody biomass in greenhouse horticulture
6/25/2018 New CHP product: 5% increase in electrical efficiency
6/22/2018 "Interplant Roses prioritises sustainability"
6/21/2018 Kenya: $125 million for geothermal, wind and solar resources
6/18/2018 How CHP could reduce your electricity costs
6/11/2018 Kenya: $29.5 million loan for Nakuru geothermal project
5/31/2018 Netherlands: Fachjan installs 270 solar panels on roof
5/29/2018 UK: £1.4m grant for geothermal power source at Eden Project
5/28/2018 Kenya drops budget cap to reach oil-cash deal
5/24/2018 Kenya: Flower farm takes legal action against Ketraco
5/23/2018 GDC to up geothermal training for African countries
4/30/2018 Simulating energy consumption of existing and planned greenhouses
4/23/2018 NL: Rise in number of solar panels per installation
4/13/2018 Kenya: GDC secures 40-year lease for power generation site
4/9/2018 US (HI): Energy entrepreneur proposes hibiscus farm at Molokai Ranch
4/5/2018 Kenya: Geothermal Development Company breaks fresh ground
3/26/2018 In the future, you'll turn your CO2 into energy
3/14/2018 World Bank invests $375 million in Ethiopian electricity
3/1/2018 "HortiContact sees quality and international appeal grow"

 

Leave a comment: (max. 500 characters)

  1. All comments which are not related to the article contents will be removed.
  2. All comments with non-related commercial content, will be removed.
  3. All comments with offensive language, will be removed.




  Display email address

  new code