April 20, 2021

Low energy greenhouses promoted by Abu Dhabi conference

Energy self sufficiency is a must for greenhouses in the region to be environmentally friendly, say experts at Abu Dhabi’s Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA).

The GFIA, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 16-17 February, features more than 300 agricultural innovations that could shape the future of sustainable farming worldwide.

Ruben Garcia, International Manager at Eltac-Hydrofarm said: “Currently, greenhouses’ installations use too much energy to operate their artificially-generated microclimates and only greenhouses with independent energy and water supply systems can offer sustainable, clean production units of vegetables.

“Wind maps can indicate whether the wind power will be able to cover the electricity needs while geothermal energy uses the ability of the land to remain at a constant temperature throughout the year to supply sustainable heating without any combustion and with reduced CO2 emissions.”

Johan Gruber of Grutec Fibre said that photovoltaic solar energy can supply both the air-conditioning and watering needs of greenhouses: “Subtropical regions with their typical low moisture air and daily sunshine create perfect conditions for the use of sun-driven air-conditioning and since water in such areas is mostly rare and expensive, it is not an economical alternative to cool fresh air.

“The key technique for cooling a greenhouse and recycling its transpiration water is PV panels and screens as they help minimise fossil fuel-based energy use.”

In a report published in September 2015, The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) said that the next generation of eco-greenhouses could save up to 90% of water, make significant energy savings, increase productivity by up to five times and reduce groundwater pollution to zero.

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