To enable modern glasshouse structures the means to provide accurate research data or produce optimum crop yields, mechanical services are essential as part of an integrated services installation.
Together with irrigation, thermal/ blackout screens, CO2 distribution and control systems, the installation of heating systems should be specifically designed to achieve the required growing environment for your crop.
Heating installations are custom-made for Commercial Glasshouse Production, Garden Centres, R&D facilities for Colleges and Universities as well as, innovative systems for growing such as vertical farms. Turnkey Projects, stand-alone systems, feasibility studies, evaluation of energy requirements and use of heat recovery systems and bio-fuels all form part of the service provided. Plant production including salad crops, bedding, herbs, flowers, tropical, propagating and crops for tests and trials all require individual consideration when designing optimum heating installations.
Warm Air Heating
Warm air heating is used mainly where an overall ambient temperature needs to be maintained. This can be in the form of freestanding air recirculating heaters firing on natural gas, propane or light oil and can be effective where less sophisticated control is required. Units will have independent flue systems and may also be used for ventilation during summer months
Hot Water Systems
Generally used in the commercial production of certain salad crops ie Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc and are also used with fruit crops such as strawberries. These installations provide controlled hot water heating from pipework located at ground level in specially designed floor brackets forming a rail system. Such installations enable the user to attend to all crop management and be able to pick the produce from electrically operated trolleys running on rails between the crop rows.
This installation uses pipework located at high level giving the crop radiant heat whilst maintaining clear access below, enabling crops to be transferred without obstruction. This type of system is often used in conjunction with lower temperature systems to give a higher heat output and maintain desired temperatures.
To enable some growers to provide low grade heat to roots and localised heat to plants, heating systems may be incorporated in bench tops and in floor areas beneath the plants. This is achieved by circulating low temperature heating water in plastic pipework within the floor construction or within bench tops. (Care must be taken not to overheat and damage plant roots which can be avoided by the use of close control of the system)
This installation comprises smaller heating tubes which are controlled independently from the main heating system. Located either in close proximity to crops being grown, these tubes provide a localised heat boost and assist in the control of humidity. These tubes are usually steel, although polypropylene tube is an option for some fruit crops. Automated lifting systems are often employed where grow tubes are installed to give radiant heat over crops grown on benches.
Where controlled drip feed irrigation systems are provided to crops it is essential that this is not supplied below the required temperature as this can be detrimental to plant growth. To avoid this, heating of feed water can be achieved by passing feed water through a heat exchanger or by means of a heating coil located in the feed water storage tank.
Heat Generation and system options
To provide heat requirements for a modern glasshouse project various heat source options are available and several energy efficient system alternatives can be incorporated within the design to suit individual client needs. These installations may range from small heat pumps / AD plant and renewable energy to complex CHP, Biomass boiler and large heat storage buffer tank systems for large commercial nurseries
Modern production installations will often incorporate pre-insulated underground mains, large insulated heat storage tanks with integral expansion system, monitored water treatment systems and CO2 distribution systems generated from in house Plant room
Facilities and services offered by CambridgeHOK
- Liaise with Clients
- Site surveys
- System design
- Material specification
- Preparation of installation drawings
- Submitting Quotations
- Contract agreement
- Material ordering / labour programming
- Site supervision
- Commissioning of installations
- Sundry Sales
- Modifications to existing systems
- Assessment of Insurance Damage
Reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions is something which is very much in the fore front of growers and developers minds, and as a leading horticultural company we have developed the expertise to offer the complete package.
Predominantly the second highest cost to the grower is energy, and with costs spiralling it is crucial to look into alternative energy production. With the available support of the government backed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) growers are turning toward Bio-Boilers on a large scale.
Working closely with our partners at Energy4growth we are able to specify and design energy solutions to meet the heat and CO2 profiles for your growing needs. With paybacks of approximately 3 years against oil and 5 years against natural gas, the RHI changes the way we think when it comes to maximising crop yield against energy costs.
With the in house expertise not only encompassing experienced Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, but also Structural and Civil Engineers, CambridgeHOK can design and install the complete energy solutions with all of the associated services. We have worked on multiple projects including:
- Large Scale Biomass Boilers
- Absorption Chillers
- Bio-Gas CHP
- Anaerobic Digesters
Cambridge HOK are looking forward to working with growers as we together develop schemes to integrate new technologies with new and existing glasshouse systems.
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