America's First Greenhouse Combined Heat & Power Project with CO2 Capture

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Sarah Backhouse of Future360 visits Houweling's Tomatoes where tomatoes are grown in 125 acres of greenhouses powered by the clean energy. Visit www.future360.tv for more information.

Utilizing two of GE's 4.36-megawatt Jenbacher J624 two-staged turbocharged natural gas engines, Houweling's Tomatoes is the first combined heat and power greenhouse project in America to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in plant fertilization.

Fueled by natural gas, Houweling's CHP system provides 8.7 MW of electrical power and 10.6 MW of thermal power (hot water) for heating the large-scale glass greenhouses on-site. The system offers a total thermal efficiency of nearly 90 percent. When considering the avoided energy that would be required to externally source the CO2 and the recovery of the water from the exhaust, the overall system efficiency exceeds 100 percent. Western Energy Systems, GE's authorized U.S. distributor of Jenbacher gas engines and part of the Penn Power Systems organization, engineered and installed the cogeneration plant.

The CHP plant will enable flexible generation and contribute electric power during peak daytime demand periods. With a five-minute start-up capability, this high-efficiency plant also provides power to the electric utility for augment of the power grid. Additionally, the thermal energy produced from the engine during power generation can be transferred to the greenhouse immediately during cooler periods or retained in existing thermal storage tanks for use at other times of the day.

"This CHP system will provide the necessary heat, power and CO2 for the growth of our fresh greenhouse tomatoes," says Casey Houweling, the owner of the greenhouse facility. "However, the impact of this project on the region goes far beyond the vegetables produced in the greenhouse. This ultra-high-efficiency CHP plant also will provide flexible power to our local utility with a very short response time. GE's proven technology and industry-leading efficiencies allow us to have one of the lowest CO2 footprints and water usage in the region for a power plant of this size. In fact, we plan to use the water condensed out of the exhaust gas in our operations—this will save approximately 9,500 gallons per day of usage from local water sources. We felt this project was the right thing to do for both our company and our community."
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