(Image credit: Corbis)
It’s bad for the environment, but you know you want it. You want those strawberries in the dead of winter. You know you should be eating local produce year round to avoid all of the carbon emissions associated with flying in food from distant places or using energy guzzling greenhouses to grow produce that is out of season… but we’re spoiled modern folk and sometimes you just want those strawberries in January.
Thanks to 2 year old Israeli company, Trio Energy Systems, we may be able to satisfy those cravings with a little less guilt. Having taken into account that the reason most greenhouses waste energy is because a lot of energy is required in order to keep them warm during colder weather and much of the heat dissipates, they’ve come up with a solution that minimizes energy consumption in the greenhouse.
According to Hila Weiss, “we are collecting the heat dissipating from the greenhouse. It goes back in a heat pump, like air conditioning.” By (literally) recycling the heat, Trio Energy Systems’ product can stretch the energy used in the greenhouse and convert 1 kilowatt of energy into 5 kilowatts worth of heat.
Since energy usage is one of the largest expenses in operating a greenhouse, the savings for greenhouse farmers are considerable. The company claims that the technology even saves up to two-thirds of the energy used in conventional greenhouse operations.
The technology also reduces humidity in the greenhouses by extracting water from the greenhouse. This is better for the crops and the environment since it reduces plant disease and helps provide drinking and irrigation water in regions where water may be scarce.
Trio Energy Systems is currently based in Zichron Yaacov and is working together with Bio-Bee (a pest management company that uses bugs instead of pesticides) to build a pilot plant in France or Italy this year. So hopefully sometime in the near future, organic strawberries produced in a low-energy greenhouse environment will be warming up your winters.
Read more about sustainable agriculture solutions
Living in a Green House
It’s Possible to Harvest More Crop Per Drop, Find Israeli Cleantech Researchers