Soave Enterprises utilizes innovative technology to generate energy and support tomato growth in one complete process.
Soave Enterprises incorporates an innovative new approach to energy conservation and consumption at the Great Northern Hydroponics (GNH) facility in Ontario, Canada. The Soave plant functions as a tri-generation facility which essentially generates energy and conserves resulting CO2 emissions to fertilize their tomato crops. The technology is a natural-gas-fired heat and power project that provides electricity generation, hot water, and carbon dioxide to the greenhouse. Creation of electricity from natural gas produces substantial amounts of thermal energy, as well as carbon dioxide exhaust emissions. Being a tri-generation facility, GNH burns natural gas in four GE Jenbacher reciprocating gas engine generating units with selective catalytic reducer (SCR) emission controls. This thermal energy – in the form of hot water – is then supplied to GNH to heat the green house.
Next, the Soave Enterprises hydroponics facility employs the latest in environmental technology to clean the exhaust emissions and to extract carbon dioxide, where the carbon dioxide is the key component of photosynthesis – providing the greenhouse with the necessary fertilizer for the greenhouse’s tomato crop. Since the CO2 is not emitted into the air, GNH is also looked at as a net user of CO2.
The third component is the electricity that is generated by the engines and transferred to power local homes. The project represents the only one of its kind and is currently the most technically-advanced and environmentally-sustainable project of its kind anywhere in North America.
Partnering with Energy Experts
The entire system was co-designed between GE and GNH. “We sourced and imported all material with the generating equipment designed and imported by GE,” Didychuk, President of GNH says. “We acted as our own project manager and general contractor. However, having an industry leader as your technology partner, such as GE Jenbacher who dominates the European greenhouse industry with a market share of greater than 70% really helps the success of a project like this.”
Plans for the Future
Besides the energy savings and the environmental benefits, tri-generation is also improving tomato production at Soave Enterprises. Didychuk tells that the lifespan of a greenhouse tomato is short – about eight weeks from flower to picking – so you really need to capitalize on your growing time. “Injecting the captured CO2 into the greenhouse, where it then flows out to feed the tomato plants, is an extra boost of fertilization that helps the plants grow larger and faster.”
Furthermore, the Soave company has plans for even greater improvements into the future. “Staying ahead of innovation with even more energy solutions isn’t easy, but we plan to add cooling to the process within the year, turning it into a quad-generation facility, which is a really unheard of and rare occurrence,” Didychuk states.
About Soave Enterprises
From the early days of his first company, Tony Soave has had a commitment to integrating innovative technology and partnerships. Whether it is developing partnerships between industry associations, government energy plants, or community programs, Tony Soave encourages each of his diverse companies to look for new opportunities in every aspect of their business.
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 Anthony Soave and Soave Enterprises, please visit http://www.soave.com.
3400 E Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48207