Economic and Environmental Assessment of the Use of Renewable Energies in Greenhouses: A Case Study in Crete-Greece
- John Vourdoubas
The use of various renewable energy resources in agricultural greenhouses for heat and power generation has been studied extensively and several applications already exist. Among renewable energy resources solar energy, geothermal energy and biomass have been more or less used mainly for heat production in them.
Currently economic and environmental considerations favour the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energies for energy generation in greenhouses. The necessity of mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions and the decrease in the cost of energy generation from renewables make their use more attractive in various commercial applications including in agricultural greenhouses. In the case of Crete-Greece, cost analysis of the use of solid biomass and geothermal energy for direct heating and cooling greenhouses shows that these investments are very profitable and attractive. However, the use of geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling them is not cost effective. Use of solar photovoltaic cells for power generation is not cost effective, particularly when electricity generation in greenhouses is subsidized by the government. The decrease of CO2 emissions due to the use of renewables in the greenhouses is considered as an additional benefit.
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