In order to achieve the climate targets, the greenhouse horticulture sector will have to innovate in a lot of areas. For example, energy losses in temperature regulation appear to be a persistent problem. The Delft-based Thermeleon aims to tackle this issue. Co-founder Liesanne Wieleman tells all about it.
“My co-founder, Jildou de Jong, and I both studied at Delft University of Technology. I myself studied Construction Technology, where you learn about the application of different technologies, particularly in residential construction. That may seem far removed from greenhouse horticulture, but in fact, greenhouses are very similar to houses. The ball definitely started rolling when Jildou and I had to draw up a business plan for one of our courses. We had focused on the environmental advantages of heat batteries and had to look for a sector in which they could play an important role. Then we stumbled upon the ambition of the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector to be climate neutral by 2040.”
“In greenhouse horticulture, products must be kept at the right temperature day and night. Even if it is freezing outside, a greenhouse must remain warm at all times. At the moment, this temperature control is done almost everywhere by stoking natural gas. And that adds up: approximately 8 percent of the natural gas consumption in the Netherlands is used by the greenhouse horticulture sector. Much of that energy is wasted: a greenhouse generates more heat than it uses. Our thermal battery enables us to store some of that surplus heat, some 5 to 15 percent, so that it can be reused at times when there is a shortage of heat, so to speak. It is estimated that growers will then need to use 10 to 30 percent less natural gas; that is not just beneficial for the environment, but it also saves companies money.”
Read the complete article at www.innovationorigins.com.