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from HDC
Horticultural Development Company
Stoneleigh Park
T: 024 7669 2051
HDC is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Written by:
Farm Energy
The Energy Centre
Stoneleigh Park
Warwickshire CV8 2LS
T: 024 7669 6512
FARM ENERGY is a trading name of FEC Services Ltd
Although predictons are pointng towards another harsh winter, Natonal Grid say they will
be able to meet energy demand. The winter outlook from the power networks operator
reveals a healthy electricity generaton surplus, good potental for imports of LNG and
ample gas stocks. The forecast is therefore for more than enough capacity, even if we
experience another prolonged period of very cold weather.
temperature heat sources. Energy savings
of 10-15 % were measured, plus a slight
increase in yield, but the cost of the
installaton was too high to make it a viable
investment for most UK growers.
However, with increased completon and
development in the market, costs are likely
to fall. The project has just fnished its fnal
year of trials and GrowSave will bring you
the full results early in 2012.
Towards a brighter future?
The only really new ‘techie’ highlight this
year was the launch of the plasma light
from Gavita. The wavelength spectrum
of the light output is said to be closer to
that of the sun but in terms of micro-mole
output (units of light that plants ‘see’) they
are less efcient than high pressure sodium
lights; they also cost more - €600-700 for
a 300 W ftng compared to €200 for a
600 W high pressure sodium. Their ‘saving
grace’ is that they claim plants use the light
more efectvely (similar to LED claims),
but this remains to be proven. Will plasma
revolutonise hortcultural lightng? Not in
the short-term for sure.
Meanwhile, there is stll a lot of exposure
for LEDs but there is a more measured
stance from suppliers this year regarding
sales, as the signifcant decrease in cost and
increase in efciency seen over the last fve
years is now fatening out.
Energy on show at Horti Fair
The Hort Fair is the biggest
internatonal trade fair for technology,
innovaton and inspiraton in
hortculture and atracts some 600
exhibitors and 30,000 visitors from
around the world. Farm Energy
Technical Director, Tim Prat shares the
hot energy topics from November’s
show in Amsterdam.
Does ‘new generation
growing’ hold the answer to
our energy problems?
This year, one of the developments closest
to practcal implementaton is ‘new
generaton growing’ – a technique that
uses fans and ducts to deliver conditoned
air into the botom of the crop. The
conditoned air can be anything from
100 % re-circulated air to 100 % outside air,
delivered by a mixing chamber with louvers.
The mixed air is heated, if required, to only
C above the greenhouse temperature.
So what are the benefts?
1. Air movement helps deliver beter
uniformity of temperature and
humidity in the crop - especially around
the base of the crop where most fungal
disease develops.
2. Dry, outside air is introduced directly
into the botom of the crop. This
delivers the greatest impact just where
it is needed, rather than relying on
outside air falling in at the top through
the vents and ‘getng there eventually’.
These should ultmately lead to energy
savings with lower incidence of disease and
less energy required for humidity control.
Some claims are for a 25-40 % energy
saving, but we do not know how these
fgures have been determined.
HDC is already up to speed as the ‘new
generaton growing’ concept is very similar
to HDC project PC 278, which focused
on both energy saving and allowing
the greenhouse to be heated with low
For a more in-depth look at LEDs, their
advantages and progress towards
commercial uptake, see the new technical
update recently published in the
KnowledgeBase at:
UK powers up for winter