Soave Enterprises implements innovative energy-saving technology at their expansive Canadian hydroponics facility.
Soave Enterprises proves that producing more than 22 million pounds of tomatoes each year, in a 50-acre greenhouse is no small task, and being environmentally-friendly about it is even more impressive. Traditionally, tri-generation refers to burning of a fuel, such as natural gas, to get electricity, heating and cooling. In the case of Soave Enterprises’ Great Northern Hydroponics (GNH), they are a natural gas-fired 12mW tri-generation facility burning natural gas and getting electricity, heat, and CO2 in return.
Conserving Energy for Crops
Ontario, Canada-based GNH, a division of Soave Enterprises, signed a 20-year government contract for generation of the 11.5mW of electricity. Under the contract, the Canadian government is purchasing the electricity generated by the plant – enough to power 5,000 residential homes in the local area. The GNH’s tomato crops, their energy costs, and the environment as a whole will literally benefit a ton. The facility cost about Cdn$20 million to complete; however, the greenhouse will save a minimum of 50% of its energy costs over the next 20 years and will capture 15,000 tons of CO2 for the fertilization of their tomatoes. Without Soave Enterprises’ preservation, this energy would normally go into the atmosphere.
“The objective of this entire project is to bring down our cost of heating the greenhouse, and it’s critical to the survival of the greenhouse industry in the next 20 years,” says Darrin Didychuk, president of GNH.
Built for Everyone’s Benefit
Greenhouses require a substantial amount of heat to grow plants, and the rising cost of natural gas has really been crippling the industry, which is why Didychuk, along with General Manager Guido van het Hof, spent two years researching and developing this project. They have worked to make it most beneficial to everyone involved.
It began when Ontario Power Authority (OPA) came out with a request for green energy projects. Didychuk and van het Hof lobbied them to allow commercial greenhouses to qualify under the district heating segment; utilization of CO2 emissions also enables them to be a carbon sink. When CO2 is reabsorbed back into the land, it is referred to as a carbon sink.
A natural direction was to look toward the greenhouse industry in Europe, which has been using co-generation and CO2 fertilization systems for more than a decade, and GE Energy has supplied well over 500 of these systems. They are all industry models for innovative energy conservation systems.
The successful implementation of this technology has distinguished Soave Enterprises’ GNH as an industry leader and brings the promise of similar sustainable industry practices and partnerships in the future.
About Soave Enterprises
Soave Enterprises is a diversified management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony Soave that provides strategic planning, financial and other management resources to its affiliated business ventures in the real estate, automotive retailing, beer distribution, scrap metal, industrial services and transportation industries, among others. For more information on Tony Soave and Soave Enterprises, please visit http://www.soave.com.
3400 E Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48207