Frequently Asked QuestionsHere are some of our frequently asked questions.
On a yearly basis we use about 1,000,000m3 gas to heat the greenhouses and to produce electricity. To keep this as low as possible we use energy saving screens in the greenhouses consisting of horizontal screens in the top and vertical screens against the sides. These screens create an air pocket between the glass and the air in the greenhouse which keeps the warm greenhouse air away from the cold roof and walls. By using condensers we can retrieve heat from the exhaust gasses from the heating boiler and cogeneration system. A large proportion of our heat is produced by our cogenerator, which consists of a large engine with a generator attached to produce electricity. The heat that the engine creates by burning gas is what we use to heat the greenhouses. As well as this the generator produces electricity which we sell to the national grid. Because of this link the return on a cubic metre of natural gas is much higher than if we were to use the same cubic metre of gas only in the central heating boiler. Then the only product to come out of it would be heat.
This isn’t as bad as you would imagine. The warmer it is outside, the smaller the difference between inside and outside temperatures. Sometimes it’s even cooler in the greenhouse than it is outside. This is because of evaporation from the plants. The vapor that the plants secrete via the pores cools the air and therefore the temperature stays moderate. Sometimes it is damper than outside and can feel a little sultry. If a greenhouse is empty it is very warm when the sun shines. However, the greenhouses are never empty for long in the summer so we don’t have a problem with this. Furthermore, we can close the sunscreens and spray the roof with chalk to keep the sun out.
Since 2016 we have a seed extraction area in our company. This is very labor intensive work. The tomatoes are thrown into a machine where they are ground down. The seed is separated from the fruit pulp by adding enzymes and rinsing with plenty of water. When the seeds are separated from the fruit pulp they are carefully dried in a special drying cabinet. After which the seed will be transported to our customer. Once their customer orders seed it is treated further. A coating can be added to improve the germination capacity and to protect the seed from harmful organisms. Next, the seeds are packed and delivered to the customer. After the “cleaning” process a sample is taken from every batch to check that the variety is pure. This can be done with a DNA test. Pepper and cucumber seeds are removed in a very similar way.