Before we tell you what sustainable solutions we have implemented, let’s take a look back ten years ago. At the time, we had a boiler at the nursery that we used to heat our greenhouses with natural gas. The heat went into the greenhouse and so did the CO₂ from the flue gases. We did this this way for up to 30 years. Then we switched to cogeneration, also called CHP. In CHP, heat and electricity are produced simultaneously using a single-fuel engine. We use the electricity generated by this cogeneration partly for our own use at the nursery and partly sell it back to the grid. Also with this technique, the generated heat and CO₂ goes into the greenhouse. However, this was still not the most sustainable solution. We remain dependent on fossil fuels, so we have been looking hard for alternatives. We do this together with fellow companies, often our neighbors, because the investments are large and risky.
Sustainable innovations in Terneuzen
In Terneuzen, we cooperate with Warmco. High-quality techniques are used to convert residual products into valuable raw materials that can be reused. Warmco has succeeded in developing a technique that allows residual heat and CO₂ to be reused in greenhouse farming.
We are linked with four other nurseries to the Yara Sluiskil plant. Here, residual heat and CO₂ reused. The Zeeuws-Vlaanderen greenhouse area is part of Biopark Terneuzen and the most sustainable greenhouse area in the Netherlands. This is a unique approach in the Netherlands, especially considering its size!
Sustainable innovation in Dinteloord
At this location, we work with two CHPs. These are gas turbines that generate power. Because we generate more power than we need ourselves, we can sell this surplus on the grid. We use the heated cooling water for the machines to heat the greenhouse. It also purifies exhaust gases and extracts CO₂, which we can then bring back into the greenhouse to help the plant grow better.
We are also actively engaged in the Osiris project in Dinteloord. The seventeen gardeners affiliated with Project Osiris could save 100 million cubic meters of natural gas per year! Finally, we would like to link two greenhouse areas to PreZero’s waste treatment plant in Roosendaal. PreZero is a resource company with a clear goal: to conserve resources and reduce the amount of waste that cannot be recycled.
Sustainable innovations in Steenbergen
Also at this location, we run two CHPs and two heat pumps along with aquifers.
The CHP emits low-grade hot air, of about 30 degrees, through the chimney. This heat is normally lost, but not with us! At our Steenbergen location, we further cool these flue gases and store this low-grade heat in the ground. This is through wells about 80 meters deep and we do this through an aquifer.
In winter, we bring this warmth back up. Through the heat pumps, we bring the temperature back up to as high as 45 degrees. We can make good use of this temperature in our heating system. The heat pumps are powered by electricity and can produce 1 MWh of heat.
Also in Steenbergen, we are working on the Osiris project where residual heat and CO₂ from PreZero’s waste treatment plant in Roosendaal is used in our greenhouses.
Sustainable innovations in Oosterland
In Oosterland, we started working on biomass with two of our neighbors. After a long search in which geothermal and the like were all explored, biomass seemed like a great option for us. Biomass is a collective term for plant and animal materials that we use as raw materials or energy sources. This could include wood, pruning waste, waste from the food industry, animal manure or oil from seeds.
The special feature of this project is that we not only take the heat, but also extract the CO₂ from the flue gases and blow it into the greenhouses.
For this project we are united with DES B.V., Duurzame Energie Sirjansland. DES B.V. was established to make the energy supply of participating horticultural companies more sustainable. The goal is to expand the sustainability of horticultural businesses in the future wherever possible.
Finally, we also have one CHP running in Oosterland in addition to the biomass.
The new cultivation
In addition to all the innovative solutions to the natural gas problem we have implemented at our facilities, our cultivators also try to grow as much as possible according to the principle of ”The New Cultivation,” or HNT for short. With HNT, energy is used as consciously as possible while achieving optimal production. HNT uses physics knowledge to optimally control cultivation in such areas as temperature, moisture, CO₂ dosage, light and screens. For example, many of our greenhouses have a second energy screen, this provides significant energy savings and better cultivation results!!!
We have been very active in recent years to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Of course, we will continue to expand and optimize this in the coming years! Do you have further questions about our sustainable projects and innovations? If so, please contact us.