Biking and greenhouses - how Dutch could it be?

"Things are going well in horticulture," Bart Melis of Priva jokingly concluded Friday afternoon. He was referring to all the beautiful bikes that were waiting in the hall in De Lier, Netherlands. A group of 30 racing cyclists had gathered for the first edition of the Fossil-Free Cycletour, an initiative of Robert Solleveld, Roger Abbenhuijs, and Maurice Wubben.

Team photo at Delphy

Digitizing bikes and plants
All dressed up in a Kas als Energiebron (Greenhouse as Energy Source) shirt, the group, after the opening speech by Priva's VP of Horticulture and lunch, headed for Bleiswijk, where a visit to Delphy was planned. There, Alex van Klink held a presentation on behalf of Delphy in which he drew a comparison between data and digitalization in horticulture and cycling.

More and more is possible with data and digitalization, but a sensor cannot yet answer the question 'who has good legs,' just as reading the plant is still a challenge. However, as Alex showed, digitalization does make it possible to get a better grip on both plant growth and the condition of cyclists.

Better weather for cycling is hardly possible

The condition of the cyclists was excellent on Friday afternoon, and the external factors, a nice sun, and not too much wind, also helped. After the stop at Delphy, the group continued, via the greenery around Delft, to Aardwarmte Vogelaer in Poeldijk. There, Danny van den Berg was on hand to give an update on behalf of the management of the geothermal company on how horticulture is moving towards fossil-free cultivation using geothermal heat.

Work is underway on a second doublet in Poeldijk. Drilling is expected to start in September. Not all the extra heat released in this way has been sold yet, but Danny is confident that it will work out. The heat from the wells should also connect to Warmte Systeem Westland. Danny also touched on that major fossil-free project.

A look inside the Vogelaer geothermal plant

For Koppert Cress, where Bart van Meurs works, geothermal heat from the source that is being realized at the Polanen project is important to meet the company's fossil-free target as early as 2025. That project is in danger of being delayed there, but this was not dwelt on for long on Friday.

At the end of the bike ride at Priva, Bart talked mainly about Division Q, the newly established innovation company that works closely with numerous startups in the field of energy, among other things, and also briefly about Division M, the investment arm from Monster. The market can expect news from both Q and M soon, disguised Bart.

The day ended with a barbecue, and judging by the enthusiastic participation of even a grower from Friesland, it is worth repeating. Without GreenTech and Flower Trials, more people are sure to join next time.

A photo impression can be seen here. Photo credits to Maurice Wubben, who took over the camera from yours truly, allowing for a nice cycle.

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