Nine ways to save energy with InfoGrow 2.0
InfoGrow provides several possibilities for saving energy for greenhouse production. The possibilities depend on the crop grown, the greenhouse structure in use, and technical facilities.
This is a short introduction on how to use InfoGrow 2.0 to save energy and save production costs.
Dynamic climate control
Dynamic climate control has in practice as well as in several research studies proven that it can be used to save energy. The energy-saving is obtained when the temperature is allowed to fluctuate between a specified minimum and maximum temperature. The system controls the average temperature to ensure the production time. Another approach is even more dynamic. The picture is from Danish experiments with the IntelliGrow concept where both temperature, CO2, and the light were controlled dynamically according to the outside radiation from the sun.
InfoGrow helps you to ensure that the dynamic does not influence your production time and quality with several key-performance indicators for the production.
InfoGrow is a further development of IntelliGrow.
IntelliGrow research, foto Eva Rosenqvist, University of Copenhagen
The roses were grown in different climates during early spring. Std is grown in a standard climate with 21°C during the day and 19 °C at night. The other plants were grown under different dynamic control strategies. Compared to the standard treatment the other plants were produced with 10-30% less use of energy.
Download reports from the IntelliGrow research here (in Danish)
Control artificial lighting using weather forecast
InfoGrow provides local weather forecasts from ConWx with all relevant climatic parameters. InfoGrow is set up with information about greenhouse covering, screens, artificial light, and how it is controlled. From that information, InfoGrow calculates how much light is needed to ensure an average light in the greenhouse that suits the plant production. The table indicates how many hours you need to use the artificial light to obtain the setpoint for the average light.
With this, you can save energy especially when winter changes to spring and summer to autumn.
Some days use more energy than others. A cold day uses more energy than a warmer day in the spring. This is obvious, but HortiAdvice has in several tests found that several days may use energy that is not obvious. Look for those days and change the strategy to avoid them.
An example can be to lower the setpoints when it is windy outside.
Follow use of energy from department to department in 15 min time steps
InfoGrow estimates the use of energy in all departments with 15 minutes intervals. The estimations depend on a model developed for InfoGrow. Besides a setup, the estimation is done on basis of the inlet temperature measured by the climate computer. Experiments have proven that the estimation is rather precise and perfect to follow the use of energy. What happens when the screens are used or withdrawn again? Would it have been better to wait 30 minutes to do it!? InfoGrow shows you the effect.
Identify greenhouses with the highest use of energy
InfoGrow shows your daily use of energy together with a regression line. The line explains your use of energy as a function of the difference in temperature between inside and outside. The coefficient before the x indicates the “performance” of the greenhouse. A high value means that more energy is needed to heat up the greenhouse than a lower value. Compare your greenhouses and see which of them you need to have more focus on. It can be new screens, better insulation etc, or just a change in climate strategy.
Follow your energy use efficiency from year to year
If you compare the regression lines from year to year you can follow if the greenhouse is performing better or worse. See if your efforts in trying to save energy are succeeded or if you have to do even more.
Optimize production time using models for the crop
Timing of the production is essential. Often the production needs to be a bit too large to ensure that there are enough plants in the right development state when they are sold on demand. This overproduction might be costly due to both use of energy and man hours. InfoGrow 2.0 helps to time the production with the use of models for the production. Define the different crops with respect to the needed temperature, light, or photosynthesis sum needed to make a high-quality crop. InfoGrow follows your definitions and predicts when the plants are expected to be finished. Use a monitor in the office to see how it is growing!!
Avoid diseases favored by the climate strategy (gray mold). It is known that prolonged periods with high humidity may result in the rapid development of gray mold infection. InfoGrow shows how many hours the humidity is above a sudden humidity level. If the humidity is too high, you can change the climate strategy to avoid the high humidity. On the other hand, if the humidity is very low you might have too effective and costly humidity control. Change the strategy and save energy and minimize your loss due to diseases.
Find climate strategy and sensor problems
An optimal greenhouse production depends on many sensors for measuring temperature, humidity, light, and CO2. A wrong sensor can easily result in both a not optimal production and too high use of energy. InfoGrow integrates several of the sensor inputs and actuator functions (screens, vents, light etc.) into calculated photosynthesis. If you follow this value, you can easily see if the greenhouse is not working as expected. Examples are artificial light without CO2 injection, a CO2 sensor measuring very low values, and a temperature sensor measuring a wrong value.
The microphone symbolizes that we “listen” to the plants. We use models of the climate to explain how the plants are growing.