Wetenschap - 28 januari 2011

Turkish tomato greenhouse gets geothermal heating

Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture will set up an ultramodern greenhouse in Turkey, together with Dutch greenhouse builders and contractors. Geothermal energy will be used there to provide heat and carbon dioxide for tomato cultivation.

The greenhouse complex will be four hectares big, one a half hectares of which will be fitted into a demonstration centre, says Ruud Maaswinkel of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture. This Sustainable Innovation Centre will be a showcase for Dutch companies to exhibit their know-how and technology in breeding, crop protection and climate control. A Turkish company will finance the greenhouse, a Dutch will run the company for two years and train people to take over afterwards.
Wageningen UR will find out in the coming years if the breeding, energy and climate performances of the greenhouse are as good in practice as they are on paper. 'We are still looking for a Turkish university to be our partner to carry out the monitoring.' The demonstration centre comes under the Seraculture project of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, which is also one of the fund providers.
Horticulture is flourishing in Turkey, says Maaswinkel, especially in the area around Aydin-Izmir. 'This area has a good climate and many geothermal sources. Therefore, geothermal heat can be harnessed there.' Horticulturists in the Netherlands do not use geothermal heat yet.
The greenhouse has been designed specially for the conditions in Turkey. The geothermal heat for the greenhouse is stored in spring water, which not only supplies warmth during the winter, but is also rich in CO 2 needed for crop growth. The water will also be recycled, to limit the extent of negative impacts on the environmental. 'Dutch subcontractors will apply their newest know-how here', says Maaswinkel.

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