First natural gas-free greenhouse in Netherlands

By Janet Thompson, Apr 30, 2013, 11:02 2 minute reading

GEA Refrigeration has installed a high efficiency ammonia heat pump in the first greenhouse, which runs entirely without natural gas. The tropical orchid greenhouse provided a special challenge, as half of the building had to be cooled while the other half had to be heated. GEA met this challenge with its GEA Grasso ammonia heat pump.

In building the first greenhouse operating without the use of natural gas, Maurice van der Hoorn, a Dutch Phalaenopsis (Orchid) grower, and contractor Frans van Zaal Totaaltechniek De Kwakel were faced with the challenge of designing a greenhouse in which half the building required cooling (approx. +20°C), while the other half required heating (+28°C). To realise this design, they chose to use an ammonia heat pump from GEA’s Grasso collection. The decision was largely based on the high COP value of the GEA Grasso ammonia heat pump FX GC PP 1700-2, which uses every possibility to save energy.

Energy efficient heating and cooling system

The NH3 heat pump runs only during the winter months, generating both warm and cold water. The heat produced is used directly for the warming of the greenhouse, while the cold water is stored in underground earth layers, in a so called ground-water aquifer system, which has a total capacity of 180 m3/hour. In the summer months, the greenhouse is cooled exclusively with the cold water from the aquifers, allowing the heat pump to be turned off entirely.

The 15.000m2 greenhouse can run entirely without natural gas, but not without electricity. However, with the large water buffer tank (400m3), allows the greenhouse to benefit from lower electricity rates during non-peak hours.

Components of the GEA Grasso heat pump

  • One frequency controlled GEA Grasso 612 + one GEA Grasso 810 reciprocating compressor, both with optimal COP under full and partial load conditions
  • Plate heat exchanger type evaporator suitable for a flooded system
  • Plate heat exchanger type water cooled condenser
  • Electric power supply and control cabinet including 3-way valve control for hot and cold water

About GEA Refrigeration Technologies

GEA Refrigeration Technologies, part of the internationally active GEA Group, is a global leader in industrial refrigeration. The company designs, engineers, installs and maintains innovative key components and technological solutions for its customers. Active in the food and beverage sector, the petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, on fishing ships, in natural gas liquefaction, in infrastructure facilities, in ice factories and leisure facilities, GEA Refrigeration Technologies has become synonymous for industrial refrigeration technology.


By Janet Thompson

Apr 30, 2013, 11:02

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