Archive for the ‘ Industrial ’ Category

Air-Conditioned Greenhouse Uses Alternative Energy

Air-Conditioned Greenhouse Uses Alternative EnergyScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2011) — Neiker-Tecnalia (The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development) has created an air-conditioned greenhouse using alternative energies that enable the reduction of energy costs, improvements in energy efficiency and an increase in crop yields. The novel system has a biomass boiler and thermodynamic solar panels, which reach an optimum temperature for the crop without using fuels derived from petroleum oil or gas.

Neiker-Tecnalia has installed a biomass boiler (using wood and other organic waste as fuel), together with thermodynamic panels, with the goal of air-conditioning greenhouses destined for intensive crop cultivation. With this method they have managed to reduce costs and improve crop yields, in such a way that seasonal products can be harvested throughout the year. This project seeks an alternative to the usual diesel or heating oil boilers, which emit significant amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere and are very costly for the farmer, given the high price of petroleum oil-derived fuels.

400 kW power

The project was undertaken at a greenhouse in NEIKER-Tecnalia located in Derio, in the Basque province of Bizkaia and near Bilbao. A biomass boiler which produces 400 kW power and is, to date, the largest in Spain using air-conditioning in greenhouses was installed. With the boiler there are 40 thermodynamic panels, employed for the first time in intensive greenhouse cultivation. The combination of both energies act to heat the water which circulates in tubes located a few centimetres above the floor and below the substrate of the crop, the aim being to heat the roots.

The tubes, distributed throughout the whole surface of the greenhouse, transport water at an average temperature of 80 degrees centigrade. Thus optimum air-conditioning for greenhouses is achieved, with the result that the plants grow as in the natural production period. Achieving less expenditure in consumption and having seasonal crops all year round considerably reduces the price of the final product and, thus, enabling competition in the market with products coming from other zones.

The thermodynamic panels used generate energy thanks to the difference in temperature between a cold gas that circulates through a closed circuit and the ambient air temperature. They outstand for their low energy cost, as they are able to function in situations without sunlight and, thereby, produce energy both by day and by night. Moreover, it drastically reduces emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere. They are capable of heating water to 45 degrees centigrade and their cost per kilowatt consumed is 60 % less than the one generated by conventional diesel or heating oil boilers.

The biomass boiler used by Neiker-Tecnalia works with organic waste, such as almond nut shells, olive oil stones, tree pruning cuttings, the waste obtained from clearing forests, granulated pellets of sawdust, sawdust itself, wood shavings or any other leftover from the timber industry. The expenditure in fuel for the biomass boiler is 55 cents for kilowatt consumed, well below the 92 cents of a euro needed for boilers fed by petroleum oil-derived fuels or by natural gas or propane.

Source: ScienceDaily

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The Clean Industrial Revolution

The problem with cutting greenhouse gas emissions is that it will harm economic growth. Right? No, quite the opposite, says Ben McNeil in his book The Clean Industrial Revolution. It’s an age-old myth that doing good for the environment is bad for the economy. He’s addressing Australians, but what he has to say will arrest readers from many countries.

McNeil is a senior research fellow at the Climate Change Research Centre at Clean_industrial_revolutionthe University of New South Wales. Besides a PhD in climate science he also holds a Master of Economics degree. The two worlds are bridged in this energetic book. Australia is very vulnerable to climate change through sea-level rise, rainfall changes, storms, and a decrease in food production. It is also highly carbon-intensive in its economy and its export industries will suffer as a consequence when the world starts to move heavily to reduce carbon emissions and impose carbon tariffs.

Such consequences can be pre-empted by a clean-energy revolution, one for which Australia is well-endowed. That hot arid interior is the potential source of vast quantities of high capacity solar power. The use of mirrors to concentrate sunlight so perfectly that the ultra-high temperatures convert water to steam is one way. Another, already under construction in north-west Victoria, uses mirrors to concentrate the sunlight on to high-performance photovoltaic panels. Solar power could replace the need for coal-fired power stations.

A massive underground “hot rock” heat source can be tapped to create steam for power generation, a technique already being worked on by a number of companies at several sites throughout Australia. Wind power in the south could supply 20 percent of the country’s needs. Advanced biofuels that do not impact on food can be produced. Biomass-fuelled electricity is already produced in some parts of rural Australia. Carbon capture and storage may hold some hope for the continuing use of coal, though not while coal companies put a miserly 0.3 percent of their production value into research, apparently believing that governments will do the work for them.

McNeil argues that Australia must take up a forefront position in the low-carbon economic future if it wants to remain prosperous. At the time of writing in 2009 he expected the emissions trading scheme to kick in, putting a price on carbon and pointing the economy towards investment in clean energy. This has been delayed, but even without it there is ample reason for the change of focus away from the carbon-intensive economy (carbon obesity he calls it). The world will soon be crying out for clean energy technology. Australia will continue to prosper in the future if it has used research and development to drive down the cost of renewable energy technologies, and investment to commercialise them and prepare them for export.

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