Greenhouse heat from waste wood chips

A hydroponic seedling company in Neerabup near Perth is saving $250,000 a year by burning waste wood chips instead of LPG to heat its 1-hectare, climate-controlled greenhouse. Capital costs will be paid off in 2 years.

Benefits

Trandos Hydroponics Growers grows grafted vegetable seedlings in a 1-hectare, climate-controlled greenhouse. The seedlings need to be kept at 20°C all year.

By using wood chips to heat the greenhouse, Trandos are:

  • reducing their energy costs
  • reducing their carbon footprint
  • maintaining a high-quality product
  • staying competitive
  • seen by their customers as having an environmental advantage.

Copyright: Sohum Gandhi, Enriva (formerly AIS Greenworks)

Savings

  • Maintaining a constant 20°C requires 10,000 gigajoules of energy a year.
  • The company buys the wood chips at $50/tonne, delivered to the greenhouse. Per year they spend $30,000 on wood chips.
  • Using LPG, annual heating costs would be $280,000, or $140,000 for natural gas.
  • Installing the wood chip heating system cost $150,000 more than an LPG-powered system would have, but it will be paid off in savings in 2 years.
  • Over 10 years, the company expects to save close to $1,000,000.

How the system works

Copyright: Sohum Gandhi, Enriva (Formerly AIS Greenworks)
  • Trandos buys clean and dry waste wood chips from Wesbeam, a manufacturer of laminated veneer lumber, located just down the road.
  • The wood chips are waste from the factory, which makes the veneer timber from local plantation pine timber.
  • At the greenhouse, the wood chips are put into a furnace and burnt to heat water.
  • The water is pumped through heating pipes hanging near the seedlings.
  • The system adjusts how much fuel it burns to keep the temperature constant in the greenhouse.
  • The 4000 kilowatt (4 megawatt) system, at maximum capacity, is enough for the business to expand.

Find out more

Read the full case study: Carbon friendly thermal energy – an Aussie greenhouse [PDF 1.5 MB], written by Sohum Gandhi of Enriva (formerly AIS Greenworks).

Copyright: Sohum Gandhi, Enriva (Formerly AIS Greenworks)

Contacts

Danny Trandos, General Manager, Trandos Hydroponics Growers
1 Trandos Road, Neerabup WA 6031
Phone: 08 9206 4725, 0408 301 299, OfficeAdmin@Trandos.com.au
Sohum Gandhi, Enriva (formerly AIS Greenworks)
Phone: 0400 661 543