Minimal heating and cooling in a modern rose greenhouse

Beveren, P.J.M. van; Bontsema, J.; Straten, G. van; Henten, E. van


In a modern greenhouse there are a number of alternative systems that can be deployed to control the climate, and the choice what to use and when is not easy for the grower. A novel management system is proposed, consisting of an energy input minimizing module, and a module to realise the determined input with the available equipment. The current paper describes the energy minimization part. A dynamic optimization tool based on optimal control theory was used to obtain time trajectories of the energy flux that minimizes total external energy input over the year, while maintaining greenhouse air temperature and humidity between grower defined bounds. By giving the grower the lead in defining the bounds, the method stays as closely as possible to the grower’s daily practice and experience, and no crop production models and market prices are needed. The underlying dynamic model of temperature and humidity, based on known physical principles and parameters, compared very well with unique, year round high frequent data from a commercial rose greenhouse. A relatively simple crop transpiration model was validated separately, with very good results. It was shown that over twelve selected days, distributed over the entire year, the energy saving potential as compared to the actual grower’s practice is substantial. This potential was related to the definition of lower and upper bounds, less natural ventilation at colder days, and more natural ventilation and less heating at warmer days. The prominent role of the bounds was clearly demonstrated. Relaxing the temperature and humidity bounds decreases the energy input to the greenhouse. While this is obvious, the quantification of the effect as demonstrated here is of great interest to growers, and is essential for the development of the second part of the system.