Plants need heat to grow, but they can also become too hot and wilt. Growers have cooling systems in their greenhouses, but these consume lots of energy, and natural ventilation allows CO2 to escape, which is necessary for growth. Together with Maurice Kassenbouw, TNO devised an innovative, energy-efficient solution: FlowDeck, a double-walled greenhouse roof through which water flows, keeping the climate cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Greenhouse growers pay close attention to climate optimization, and with good reason. After all, the greenhouse is a determining factor in crop yield. But maintaining a greenhouse climate that is optimum in all respects requires lots of energy. Individual growers are therefore looking for ways to save energy, and the greenhouse horticulture sector as a whole has set itself the goal of reducing energy consumption.
Climeco Engineering and Maurice Kassenbouw worked with TNO to conceive the prizewinning solution: the FlowDeck Energy System. A FlowDeck is a double-walled polycarbonate greenhouse roof through which water flows. In summer, the water cools in the greenhouse. The surplus heat is stored in an underground water layer, the aquifer, and is used to heat the greenhouse when it gets colder. During the winter, the spaces between the sheets are empty, so they have an insulating effect. A greenhouse fitted with a FlowDeck therefore requires less heating to maintain its temperature.
All in all, a greenhouse fitted with the FlowDeck has a net positive heat balance, producing more energy than is needed for heating. The grower can sell the surplus and use the proceeds to purchase the energy needed for lighting, fans, or pumps. Another advantage is that a water-filled FlowDeck transmits at least as much light as a single-layer glass roof, which is beneficial to the growth of the plants. TNO has designed a special model that makes it possible to quickly determine whether a FlowDeck would yield profit for growers. Growers who want to know more can contact Egon Janssen.