‘Island mode’ CHP to make growing tomatoes more efficient

Intergrow Greenhouses was established in 1998 in Allegany County NY in an area of 15 acres, that has grown up to 70 acres over the years. The company grows a […]

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Intergrow Greenhouses was established in 1998 in Allegany County NY in an area of 15 acres, that has grown up to 70 acres over the years.

The company grows a variety of tomatoes: beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes on the vine. The main market it supplies is the north-east area of the USA: New England, New York, Washington DC and the Baltimore area.

Intergrow Greenhouses uses different sustainable practices, such as capturing the roof water that falls on the greenhouse and use it for irrigation. This means that has a closed loop, because 100% of the water is recycled!

In 2014, in order to satisfy an increased demand to supply year-round products, the company decided to install artificial lighting in one of its facilities. The grid is max out to capacity at 8MW but Intergrow Greenhouses didn’t want to make any concessions on the intensity of the lights, so it decided to install a 2.4MW CHP plant to get extra electricity.

Therefore, the greenhouse total energy demand amount to 10MW, 8MW is produced by the grid, the remaining part is supplied by the CHP plant.

The heating system is powered by both biomasses and natural gas; from one side a 10MW biomass boiler is fueled by woodchips, while from the other side the 2.4MW CHP plant is fueled by natural gas. The plant run at “island mode” providing electricity to the lighting system from October to April and from midnight, for a maximum of 18 hours a day. A climate control system regulates the on-off system of the plant.

The CO2 that is captured from the boilers and the CHP plant, is fed into the greenhouse and allows an increased yield. The heat is stored in heat storage tanks and is used when it’s cold.

Thanks to the CHP plant, Intergrow Greenhouse can power the artificial lighting and ensure a year-round production being more competitive on the market.

Intergrow Greenhouses chose AB/GPN CHP modular solution for many reasons: high quality of the product made entirely in-house, easiness of relocation and scalability, reduction of on-site assembly, easiness of control and interconnection with existing systems, easiness of import procedures, absence of building permits, short delivery time, sound isolation.

The AB/GPN greenhouse CHP is based on a natural gas driven engine which delivers heat and CO2 to the greenhouse to increase quality and productivity of the crop. The electricity produced can be used inside the greenhouse to power the grow lights or supplied back to the grid. High and low temperature water produced by the gas engine is supplied to the heating system of the greenhouse. By the use of a so-called CO2 exhaust gas cleaning system, the exhaust gases are purified to supply clean CO2 to the greenhouse and increase crop productivity.

Cogeneration represents both a business opportunity and a long-term strategy for companies involved in the greenhouse sector, always in perspective of high energy performance and eco-sustainability.


Electric Power

Potenza Elettrica/Elektrische Leistung

Mechanical Power Output

Potenza meccanica albero motore/Mechanishe Leistung

Energy input

Potenza introdotta/Eingebrachte Leistung

Recoverable thermal power

Potenza termica recuperabile/Erzielbare Wärmekraft

Fuel gas consumption PC 9,5 MC

Combustibile consumato/Gasverbrauch,Brennstoffverbrauch

Electrical Efficiency

Rendimento elettrico/Elektrisher Wirkungsgrad

Thermal Efficiency

Rendimento termico/Thermishe Wirkungsgrad

Total Efficiency

Rendimento totale/Gesamtwirkungsgrad




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