The thermodynamic panels used generate energy thanks to the difference in temperature between a cold gas that circulates through a closed circuit and the ambient air temperature. They outstand for their low energy cost, as they are able to function in situations without sunlight and, thereby, produce energy both by day and by night. Moreover, it drastically reduces emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere. They are capable of heating water to 45 degrees centigrade and their cost per kilowatt consumed is 60 % less than the one generated by conventional diesel or heating oil boilers.
The biomass boiler used by Neiker-Tecnalia works with organic waste, such as almond nut shells, olive oil stones, tree pruning cuttings, the waste obtained from clearing forests, granulated pellets of sawdust, sawdust itself, wood shavings or any other leftover from the timber industry. The expenditure in fuel for the biomass boiler is 55 cents for kilowatt consumed, well below the 92 cents of a euro needed for boilers fed by petroleum oil-derived fuels or by natural gas or propane.
Heating the roots to reduce costs
Air-conditioning using alternative energies developed by Neiker-Tecnalia is complemented with a technique known as 'hydroponic soil', involving placing the plants on substrate at a height of some ten centimetres above the hard floor of the greenhouse. This method also enables the roots to be heated by pipes through which water circulates at an average temperature of 45 degrees centigrade. Directly heating the substrate where the roots are found enables reducing the ambient temperature of the greenhouse overall, thus involving less energy expenditure.
All this system involves a network of sensors (distributed throughout the greenhouse) that enables regulating the
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