The current European energy crisis continues. Unexpectedly, the gas price recently peaked several times to (far) above 100 euros per MWh. This once again indicates that energy management is necessary within a greenhouse horticulture company of any size in order to keep costs and associated cost price under control. These developments reinforce the trend that the independent energy specialists at Looije Agro Technics have been noticing for several years: interest in combined heat and power (CHP) installations in the Netherlands and the surrounding countries is increasing structurally.
The constant demand for new CHP plants in Belgium is reaching its peak this year due to changes in the subsidy structure, Tom van Zundert points out. “Thanks to our broad network in Belgium, more and more gardeners in the Netherlands are able to find us as a reliable partner in the purchase of used Belgian CHP.”
The team of the construction management consultancy comes across CHP’s that have made many hours and are approaching an overhaul, but also what they call’pearls ‘in Made. “These are, for example, CHPS that have had drastic engine damage in their previous lives and are now available with low hours due to the subsidy. But also engines that are approaching their 60,000 hour turn can possibly last 15,000 hours with a limited upgrade.”
The independent services of Looije Agro Technics include not only the acquisition of the installation but also the entire support to get the used set operational again at the desired location in the Netherlands. The legal requirements for an installation in the Netherlands differ from those in Belgium. With some adjustments, the Dutch regulations can be met, Tom knows: “think of the gas road that must be carried out in accordance with Dutch regulations.”
For some years now, the biggest challenge has been to be able to link the CHP to the electricity network in parallel. “The different interpretations of the Dutch grid operator provide tailor-made solutions, especially when CHP installations are already present on the company.”
Most CHPS from Belgium are fully serviced through a maintenance contract. On the basis of the rotation pattern of the new owner, advice is given on the continuation of this contract, the conclusion of a new preventive and corrective contract or the performance of maintenance on a director’s basis. A network of manufacturers but also brand-independent specialists can be used for this.
The advantage of a Belgian CHP is generally the oversized flue gas cooler and condenser. “Where the Dutch government focuses on saving energy, we see all the more opportunities in the optimal use of energy consumed. Due to the excessive cooling of flue gases, it is possible to use additional condensation heat and thus achieve a total efficiency of over 100%. “In addition, heat can be optimally utilized through the intervention of heat pumps, the expansion of low-temperature networks in steel or PE or the cascading of existing networks.
Apart from the CHP installation itself, the agency also looks further at the entire energy issue with the grower. There is also a trend. “While the conclusion of forward deals on the electricity market with the right spread between gas and electricity can be interesting for heat demand, we also see an increasing interest in participating in emergency power pools such as TenneT’s, where the revenue model consists of an availability fee supplemented by a fee on demand.”