Back in June this year Oli and I visited the GreenTech horticulture exhibition alongside many in the greenhouse industry that was held in Amsterdam. Whilst there was a lot to see the stand out themes with an energy twist were:
- Vertical farming
Probably the busiest stand we visited was Philips Lighting (many other lighting suppliers were present) and it was great to see them highlighting a UK grower as leading the way. LEDs were clearly at the forefront and, whilst the capital cost of LEDs can still outweigh the energy savings in some cases, high pressure sodium (HPS) lights are very much now seen as the second choice.
Of particular interest for growers looking to upgrade their lighting was an LED fitting that was a direct replacement for a 1,000W HPS fitting. This should make the electrical work when swapping HPS for LED much easier and therefore cheaper.
All manner of associated equipment (LEDs being a key part) and ‘in a box’ growing systems were on show. Quite how vertical farms fit alongside or even displace conventional ‘horizontal’ greenhouses remains to be seen as it is still early days with regard to commercial roll-out. However, recent news of Ocado investing £17m in vertical farms, including Jones Food in Scunthorpe may be a sign of things to come.
Internet giants are often in the news about what they are doing (rightly or wrongly) with our data. But on the positive side of things what they can learn from it can be incredible and help to deliver better service and more efficient systems. The ability to measure in more locations and what a plant is ‘feeling’, especially with the availability of more cost-effective wireless sensors, is creating vast amounts of data but also raising a lot of questions. These questions range from ‘so what is this telling us’ to ‘how do we safely and easily share it’. There will certainly be a lot more to come on this topic in the future.
With ever increasing climate change pressure and the resulting need to use less fossil fuels, using natural gas as a source of CO2 is coming under closer scrutiny. It was good to see that the first CO2 from biomass system of true scale is now operating in the Netherlands using a Vynke biomass boiler and CO2 capture equipment from Frames Group.
GreenTech is always a good event to visit with lots of new innovative ideas on show. We definitely look forward to next years event on the 08 – 10 June 2020.