GLOBE-Net, August 23, 2012 - The tomatoes
will still be red, but growing them is now a lot greener. Houweling's,
the leading North American greenhouse operator, has unveiled its
new onsite power plant project that captures carbon dioxide for
The power plant employs two ecomagination-qualified GE Jenbacher
turbocharged natural gas engines, which generate 8.7 megawatts of
power to provide 100 percent of the electricity, heat, and CO2 for
the 125-acre greenhouse.
This is the first greenhouse combined heat and power plant
project in the U.S. and by reducing energy consumption, reusing
heat and recycling CO2, the plant reaches an overall efficiency of
nearly 100 percent.
GE's Jenbacher engines are designed to
reduce emissions; using one engine saves about 10,700 tons of CO2
annually. In the greenhouse, the heat from the engines is reused to
keep the greenhouse at a steady temperature.
The heat can be transferred to the greenhouse immediately during
cooler periods or retained in existing thermal storage tanks for
later use. Most exciting, the project recycles the CO2 from
combustion and uses it to fertilize the plants.
Typically, CO2 in greenhouses is sourced from factories that
have to liquefy it and transport it to the greenhouse. (See graphic
According to Scott Nolen, product line management leader for GE
Gas engines: "If you consider the energy you save from not having
to transport CO2, this project is way over 100% efficiency."
"The beauty of this project is that 90 percent of the energy
from the engines is being converted into something useful," says
Nolen. "This is the greenest system I have ever seen in my life
because it uses the largest amount of energy possible from the fuel
being brought it." With a start-up time of five minutes, the plant
generates enough energy to give power to the grid during peak
"This ultra-high-efficiency CHP plant also will provide flexible
power to our local utility with a very short response time," says
Casey Houweling, the owner of the greenhouse facility.
"GE's proven technology and industry-leading efficiencies allow
us to have one of the lowest CO2 footprints and water usage in the
region for a power plant of this size."
"In fact, we plan to use the water that is condensed out of the
exhaust gas in the greenhouse irrigation system-representing
approximately 9,500 gallons per day. We felt this project was the
right thing to do for both our company and our community," he
Jenbacher engines are also providing clean power to breweries and at
the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this summer.
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