A generic tool for quantifying the energy requirements of glasshouse food production

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Title: A generic tool for quantifying the energy requirements of glasshouse food production
Author(s): Georgiou, S
Acha, S
Shah, N
Markides, C
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Quantifying the use of resources in food production and its environmental impact is key to identifying distinctive measures which can be used to develop pathways towards low-carbon food systems. In this paper, a first-principle modelling approach is developed, referred to as gThermaR (Glasshouse-Thermal Requirements). gThermaR is a generic tool that focuses on the energy requirements of protected heated production, by integrating holistic energy, carbon, and cost modelling, food production, data analytics and visualization. The gThermaR tool employs historic data from weather stations, growing schedules and requirements specific to grower and product needs (e.g. set-point temperatures, heating periods, etc.) in order to quantify the heating and cooling requirements of glasshouse food production. In the present paper, a case study is reported that employs a database compiled for the UK. Another relevant feature of the tool is that it can quantify the effects that spatial and annual weather trends can have on these heating and cooling requirements. The main contribution of this work, therefore, concerns the development a tool that can provide a simple integrated approach for performing a wide range of analyses relevant to the thermal requirements of heated glasshouses. The tool is validated through collaborations with industrial partners and showcased in a case study of a heated glasshouse in the UK, offering the capacity to benchmark and compare different glasshouse types and food growth processes. Results from the case study indicate that a significant reduction in the heating requirement and, therefore, carbon footprint, of the facility can be achieved by improving key design and operational parameters. Results indicate savings in the peak daily and annual heating requirements of 44–50% and 51–57% respectively, depending on the region where the glasshouse is located. This improvement is also reflected in the carbon emissions and operating costs for the different energy sources considered. Furthermore, the temporal variability/uncertainty of the annual energy requirements and of the peak daily energy requirements are found to be considerably lowered through improvements to the glasshouse attributes. Overall, gThermaR proves its value in quantifying and identifying key factors that have a significant impact on energy requirements of heated glasshouses. Such valuable outputs are invaluable for stakeholders in the food industry that have an interest in mapping the sustainability and mitigating the carbon footprint of their supply chain processes.
Publication Date: 1-Aug-2018
Date of Acceptance: 27-Mar-2018
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/58733
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.03.278
ISSN: 0959-6526
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Cleaner Production
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Natural Environment Research Council
Funder's Grant Number: EP/M025012/1
NE/L002515/1
Keywords: 0907 Environmental Engineering
0910 Manufacturing Engineering
0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering
Environmental Sciences
Publication Status: Published online
Online Publication Date: 2018-03-29
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Centre for Environmental Policy
Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Natural Sciences



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