The GreenCap Environmental Control System provides energy-efficient climate control for industrial greenhouses where natural conditions are challenging for production efficiency. “We believe this is the future of greenhouse growing. We are doing our small part to make agriculture more sustainable and address the climate challenge,” says Jarle Skjæveland, CSO of GreenCap Solutions.
Demand for vegetables is increasing worldwide and has led to increased production over the past few decades. In recent years, production has gradually moved to greenhouses for better, more stable growth conditions and less risk of crop disease. This is an international trend, also in countries with stable climates.
Increased greenhouse production, however, has a negative impact on the environment as the aeration process utilised to create optimal conditions for production emits large amounts of CO₂.
GreenCap Solutions has developed a new, patented closed production process for greenhouses that cuts energy consumption and captures the CO₂ needed for the process from the atmosphere.
The GreenCap Environmental Control System (ECS) is customised according to the type of greenhouse, ambient climate conditions, type of vegetable production, and need for CO₂ capturing capacity. The system enables a greenhouse to operate as a standalone, self-sustained unit with most of the functionality controlled by the onboard process control system that manages humidity, temperature and CO₂ levels.
The captured CO₂ is added to the circulation air in the greenhouse to ensure that the CO₂ concentration in the greenhouse is optimal for plant growth. This increases the plant growth rate by 50 per cent or more, and there are virtually no CO₂ emissions.
GreenCap Solutions’ system reuses up to 70 per cent of the water used in production, which will allow for construction of greenhouses in new areas, particularly those facing water shortages.
The closed production process is climate neutral or potentially climate positive. By stabilising and improving growth conditions in greenhouses, the system increases production volume by 40 per cent or more.
“We’ve seen the United Nations estimates which state that food production needs to increase. We believe our system can play a pivotal role in reaching that goal in a sustainable way,” says Skjæveland.
For producers, return on investment is expected within three to five years through increased growth, reduced energy consumption, and reuse of water. It also eliminates the cost of producing or procuring CO₂.
GreenCap ECS has the potential to become a game changer in modern greenhouse production. The global market potential is considerable, as consumption of vegetables and plant-based foods is expected to increase.
The GreenCap ECS technology has been verified through two years of full-scale testing (2019-2020) at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy’s research centre, NIBIO Særheim, in Klepp, Norway.
The first commercial systems are currently being installed.
“We are quite proud of what we’ve done and proven it works. People are reaching out to us from all over the world, saying ‘we need this now!’” says Skjæveland.
2. Zero hunger
The GreenCap ECS increases plant growth sustainably, capturing the CO₂ needed for the greenhouse from the atmosphere, with virtually no emissions.
12. Responsible consumption and production
The GreenCap ECS enables producers to grow vegetable crops with a negative carbon footprint and reduced fresh water consumption.