The Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector produces considerable amounts of electricity via combined heat and power units (CHPs). These small 1-5 MW power plants run on natural gas and generate electricity, some of which is used in-house. The remainder is delivered back to the grid. Heat and CO2, this process's byproducts, can be put to good use in the greenhouse.

Natural gas CHPs are currently vital to maintaining the power grid's balance. The sector, however, wants to be climate neutral by 2040. The "Greenhouse horticulture and the electricity system" fact sheet lays this out. The consulting firm BlueTerra prepared this on behalf of Kas als Energiebron and in cooperation with Greenport Noord-Holland Noord.

Replacing natural gas CHPs is one of the biggest challenges. In the coming years, the use of these units will shift more towards regulation and emergency power. It will, thus, still play a vital role in the transition period until 2040. However, the power grid is more often at risk of becoming full.

Greenhouse horticulture companies are, thus, increasingly turning to the flexible use of electricity, for example, for lighting or filling batteries and heat buffers for later use. There could also be opportunities for hydrogen CHPs or green gas CHPs later.

In the fact sheet, Jeroen Larrivee, BlueTerra's Greenhouse Horticulture Energy expert, concludes this shift in natural gas CHPs use and its continued importance in the transition period until about 2040. Market forces considerably decrease the number of running hours, which benefits the reduction of greenhouse horticulture's CO₂ emissions.

But, there are also new flexible options and devices emerging for growers. These include electric boilers, batteries, and heat pumps. Various research and pilot projects should start showing what role hydrogen CHPs could play. Greenhouse horticulture can continue playing an essential role in the Netherlands' electricity system, provided it keeps innovating.

You can see the fact sheet here.

Source: Kas als Energiebron