Plant Production in Solar Collector Greenhouses - Influence on Yield, Energy Use Efficiency and Reduction in CO2 Emissions

  •  Dennis Dannehl    
  •  Ingo Schuch    
  •  Uwe Schmidt    


A semi-closed solar collector greenhouse was tested to evaluate the yield and the energy saving potential compared with a commercial greenhouse. As such, new algorithm for ventilation, carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment, as well as for cooling and heating purposes initiated by a heat pump, cooling fins under the roof and a low temperature storage tank were developed. This cooling system showed that the collector greenhouse can be kept longer in the closed operation mode than a commercial one resulting in high levels of CO2 concentrations, relative humidity and temperatures. Based on these conditions, the photosynthesis and associated CO2 fixations within the plant population were promoted during the experiment, resulting in a yield increase by 32%. These results were realized, although the mean light interception by energy screens and finned tube heat exchangers was increased by 11% compared to the reference greenhouse. The energy use efficiency was improved by 103% when the collector greenhouse was considered as energy production facility. In this context, the energy saving per kilogram produced tomatoes in the collector greenhouse is equivalent to the combustion of high amounts of different fossil fuels, where the reduced CO2 emissions ranged between 2.32 kg and 4.18 kg CO2 per kg produced tomatoes. The generated total heat was composed of approximately one-third of the latent heat and over two-thirds of the sensible heat, where a maximum collector efficiency factor of 0.7 was achieved.

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