Energy / Climate Change

March 3, 2007


Reducing Oil Use by Half in Greenhouse Systems

Keywords: Fossil Fuels Government Renewable Energy 

Increasing oil prices have been affecting many industries in Japan, including commercial greenhouse operations, which due to a heavy dependency on oil face an urgent need for new growing systems that do not rely on oil resources. In response, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has allocated from its 2007 budget some 370 million yen (about U.S.$3.1 million) for Greenhouse Horticulture Innovation for Freedom from Oil, a project designed to reduce oil consumption by introducing energy-efficient systems for greenhouses, as well as storage and shipment facilities.

After selecting model districts, the project will launch experiments on a tri-generation system that boosts energy efficiency, and an energy-saving greenhouse powered by micro-hydro generation from irrigation channels. The experiments are scheduled for one district each, and conducted by local farming associations or civilian groups.

Surplus electricity from the tri-generation system and micro-hydro generation will also allow the introduction of electric car transport, which can reduce oil consumption used in distribution. The experiments will start from fiscal 2007, aiming to reduce oil consumption by half over three years.

The tri-generation system is an integrated energy system involving electricity, heat and carbon dioxide (CO2) being generated by combustion of natural gas and other fuels. In greenhouse growing, the heat and CO2 generated from a power supply unit are utilized to warm greenhouse temperatures and facilitate plant growth, thus achieving significant improvements in energy efficiency as well as cost reduction.

Posted: 2007/03/03 10:21:19 AM
Japanese version