Dehumidifiers lower heating costs but hit tomato yields

Using dehumidifiers to treat external air can save glasshouse growers 25 per cent or more of their heating costs, but at a cost in capital and yield, Farm Energy Centre technical director Tim Pratt told the Tomato Growers Association Conference.

The units, being trialled at East Yorkshire tomato grower Red Roofs Nursery, take in and refrigerate warm, wet air, taking the energy out of the water vapour, which is recycled to reheat the now cooler air, which is passed into the glasshouse.

A single dehumidifier typically removes 45 litres of water per hour and consumes 10kW of electricity. Four are being used in Red Roofs' 6,000sq m of glass. Pratt put the capital cost of the system at an "optimistic" £100,000 per hectare.

"It would be tempting but for the yield hit, which is around seven per cent and which we were at a loss to explain," he admitted.

Tomato Growers Association technical chairman Philip Pearson added: "The numbers are significant and could benefit the industry."

Giving an overview of the energy market, Pratt's colleague Chris Plackett said: "This year gas has been plain sailing. Supply has outstripped demand, with only blips from Russia. Though there has been an up-tick in prices since July, the sentiment is that we are in for a period of low prices."

But he warned that larger companies now have to undertake energy audits under the Government's recent Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.

"You have to register for it if required to do so by the end of December and submit a compliance report by the end of 2015. There's a £45,000 fine if you get caught."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

The UK fresh-produce sector has reacted with dismay at the latest developments in the ongoing debate, largely conducted out of public view, on whether UK horticulture will still have access to seasonal migrant workers when the UK leaves the EU in 18 months' time.

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, a new report argues.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon