Dutch greenhouse horticulture

One of the sectors in the Netherlands that is looking for a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is greenhouse horticulture. Many greenhouse horticulture companies have a CHP plant that converts natural gas into heat, CO2 and electricity. However, the fixed costs of the CHP system are high, and the variable returns from delivering electricity back to the grid have also been disappointing in recent years. It is therefore not without reason that 90% of the deep geothermal projects in the Netherlands are realised within the greenhouse horticulture sector. The continuous availability, the sustainability and the reduction of CO2 emissions are important prerequisites for this sector.


Sustainability

Providing solutions in the areas of sustainability, environment, health and well-being is part of JUMO's mission.

Our products and services contribute to the circular economy. By using our smart sensors and automation technology, valuable raw materials and energy can be used in a sustainable way.

Sustainability/environment, health and well-being is part of our mission

Sustainability in agriculture and horticulture.

Energy transition

In order to prevent further global warming, it is necessary to achieve the goals set out in the Climate Agreement (2015 in Paris). This requires a joint transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources such as geothermal, wind and solar energy. The use of hydrogen is very promising for the near future.

This has consequences for our mobility, the built environment, industry, agriculture and horticulture. Looking differently at the generation of electricity, the reuse of raw materials and the use of residual heat offers ample opportunity for industry in the Netherlands to produce and create innovatively and future-proof. It also means that there are opportunities to develop new processes or optimise existing ones. Measuring, regulating and controlling these processes requires innovative techniques, and this is where JUMO comes in.

Geothermal energy and hydrogen offer such new opportunities. There are numerous possibilities, for example for horticulture, but also for generating renewable energy and using water for a wide variety of applications in the Netherlands' (process) industry.

Geothermal energy

Heating our living and working environment is mainly done with gas. Because the sustainability of raw material consumption is becoming increasingly important, there is more interest in alternatives, such as geothermal energy.

How does geothermal heat work? Ground heat is a form of heat transfer. With geothermal heat, warm, predominantly salt water is pumped up from a deeper layer of the earth. Via a pipe and pump system this water is led to a so-called heat exchanger. In the heat exchanger the heat from the salty water is transferred to a fresh water pipe on the other side. This is then piped back to the built-up environment to heat houses or greenhouses, for example. The used water is then pumped back into the ground, where it naturally warms up again. Renewable energy, in other words. Geothermal drilling must be done safely; just as with gas and oil, drilling must be done deep into the ground, sometimes as deep as 4km, and this can be risky. Because the sector is still young and inexperienced, thorough research is ongoing. Safe geothermal energy requires substantial investment: in the construction and maintenance of an installation.

Sustainability through the use of geothermal heat

Dutch greenhouse horticulture

Dutch greenhouse horticulture

One of the sectors in the Netherlands that is looking for a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is greenhouse horticulture. Many greenhouse horticulture companies have a CHP plant that converts natural gas into heat, CO2 and electricity. However, the fixed costs of the CHP system are high, and the variable returns from delivering electricity back to the grid have also been disappointing in recent years. It is therefore not without reason that 90% of the deep geothermal projects in the Netherlands are realised within the greenhouse horticulture sector. The continuous availability, the sustainability and the reduction of CO2 emissions are important prerequisites for this sector.

Technical challenge

The amount of water pumped by geothermal energy usually has a higher salt content. Salt has a corrosive effect on the environment. When used in horticulture, salt water is harmful to the (feed) water circuit. Therefore, checking for leakage, which can indicate corrosion, on the fresh water side of the heat exchanger is very important. Defects that have already occurred, caused by corrosion, can lead to replacement of the system in the worst case. The use of EC sensors (conductivity sensors) is particularly suitable for the timely detection of the salt content in process water. Another challenge with geothermal plants is the leakage of salt water into surface and groundwater. Because drilling takes place at great depths and there is great pressure on the pipes, it is very important to carry out pressure checks on the pipes. In this way, the quality of our groundwater can be guaranteed. This requires specialised equipment in the field of pressure, temperature and conductivity measurement. Despite the challenges, geothermal energy is the future, according to the early pioneers. A good look at the risks, the right technology, knowledge and financing are important for a successful, sustainable and safe alternative to natural gas.

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Pumped-up water from geothermal energy usually has a higher salt content.

Technically, hydrogen is an ideal solution

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is one of the basic elements for all life on our planet.

Discovered in 1766 by chemist and physicist Henry Cavendish. It is the most abundant element in the universe. On Earth, it is found mainly in water, but also in natural gas and in many other compounds. In the course of the energy transition, hydrogen is expected to play an increasingly important role worldwide. For this purpose, JUMO supplies the right instruments for monitoring pressure and temperature in climate-friendly energy systems. Technically speaking, hydrogen is an ideal solution Alongside natural gas, hydrogen is becoming the energy source of the future. Using renewable energy sources from wind and sun, it can not only be obtained CO2-free, but also stored, transported and used in various ways. In Europe, the United States and Asia, many billions of euros will be invested in building up the new hydrogen industry by the year 2050.

Hydrogen is easy to transport

From a technical point of view, hydrogen is an ideal solution for various tasks that need to be solved with the conversion of the energy supply to renewable energy sources. The focus here is on so-called green hydrogen. This is produced by electrolysis of water. Electrolysis of water is the decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas as a result of passing an electric current. The electricity for this process comes exclusively from renewable energy sources. This means that the electricity used, and therefore the production of hydrogen, is CO2 free. With grey hydrogen, the source material comes from fossil fuel. In most cases, natural gas (CH4) and water vapour (H2O) are converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) using heat. Because the released CO2 is released into the atmosphere unused, it increases the greenhouse effect. Green hydrogen is an ideal energy source because it can perform different tasks in the energy system. Previously unused solar or wind energy can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored almost indefinitely, similar to natural gas today. In this way, seasonal fluctuations can be compensated. An additional advantage: hydrogen is easy to transport. For example, existing natural gas pipelines that are no longer needed during the energy transition can be converted to transport hydrogen for reuse.

Hydrogen

Sensors that can be used in hydrogen technology

Hydrogen is thus a true all-rounder

The element is also suitable for direct heat generation, for example in gas stoves or fuel-cell heating systems. An application area that is becoming increasingly important is the synthesis of alternative fuels (e-fuels) for ships, commercial vehicles, trains or aircraft. Hydrogen is thus a true all-rounder, but the global energy system is built on fossil fuels and will need to be converted to green energy in the coming decades. Now and in the future, many new technologies and systems related to the hydrogen medium will be developed. It starts with electrolysis plants and does not end with fuel cells. Technology for deployment of natural gas systems or CO2-free synthesis of methane and E-fuels is also needed. All these systems have one thing in common: their safe and stable operation requires the use of modern sensors for measuring and monitoring pressure and temperature. Hydrogen is flammable and requires only a small amount of ignition energy. It is stored in liquid or gaseous form at 200 to 700 bar in pressure vessels.

JUMO Engineering

JUMO is aware of sustainability, sustainable production and development. In order to keep up with market demands, the company continuously innovates its portfolio. Engineering plays an important role in this. In order to make processes more sustainable, this department continuously works on improving existing techniques and implementing new techniques in the field of measuring, controlling, recording and monitoring processes for the most diverse industries in the Netherlands.

JUMO Engineering is aware of sustainability, sustainable production and development.

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Joris Lit

Teamleider Engineering & Support

Telephone:

+31 294 491483 joris.lit@jumo.net