GE and Houweling Unveil the first greenhouse CHP project to capture CO2 for plant growth

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GE and Houweling Unveil the first greenhouse CHP project to capture CO2 for plant growth

Greentech Lead America: Energy major GE, in association
with it customer Houweling Tomatoes, North American greenhouse grower, announced
the launch of the first combined heat and power (CHP) greenhouse project in
America that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in plant fertilization.

The plant utilizes two of GE’s 4.36-megawatt (MW),
ecomagination-qualified Jenbacher J624 two-staged turbocharged natural gas
engines for the 60 Hz segmentand a GE-designed CO2 fertilization system.
The system provides heat, power and CO2 to Houweling’s 125-acre tomato
greenhouse in Camarillo, Calif.

The J624 is the world’s first 24-cylinder gas engine for
commercial power generation and can be used in various applications.

The project marks a significant milestone in California’s
goal to generate 6,500 MW of new CHP generation in the state by 2020. It also
supports Houweling’s position in the agriculture industry and state of
California as a forward-thinking, innovative business.   

The plant generates heat and power by condensing out
water vapor created in the combustion process. Thermal energy is recovered in
exhaust gas heat exchangers for use in this ultra-efficient greenhouse, which
utilizes very low water temperatures in its heating system to cool down exhaust
temperatures below the dew point.

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. 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.

 “This CHP system will provide the necessary heat,
power and CO2 for the growth of our fresh greenhouse tomatoes,” said 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.”

Globally GE has installed more than 800 gas engine CHP
units in greenhouses, representing approximately 2 gigawatts of power
generation plus CO2 fertilization systems. Houweling’s engine is the
company’s first CHP installation in the U.S.

“A key goal at GE focuses on helping our customers to
reduce their impact on the environment and on their community,” said Scott
Nolen, product line management leader for GE Gas Engines. “One Jenbacher J624
two-stage turbocharged gas engine can provide electrical power for about 4,400
average U.S. homes, saving about 10,700 tons of CO2 per year1. This is
equal to the annual CO2 emissions of more than 2,000 U.S. cars.”

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