Flemish greenhouse horticulture is facing a crucial period of energy transformation, with a view to a climate-neutral society in 2050. For some, this represents a challenging mission, while others see the impact of this transition as an energy drain. The most recent edition of Clear as glass, organised on Thursday 9 November at Agrotopia, therefore placed the theme of energy in the spotlight. More than 70 interested participants were informed and inspired.
The evening began with an interactive survey on the primary source of greenhouse heat loss. Fjo De Ridder (Thomas More KCE) clarified that conductive losses through glass were the major culprit.
Researchers introduced innovative solutions: screen cloths doubling insulation, and ‘transparent aluminum’ screen cloths increasing insulation by 25%. Insights about heat pump technology and floating PV were also shared.
Koen Holmstock (Department of Agriculture) discussed the vision document ‘Towards a more climate-neutral Flemish horticulture 2030-2050.’ Attention was given to the legislative framework, emphasizing a multi-track approach and identifying success factors.
Hanne Leirs (Boerenbond) highlighted the practical approach to energy reporting, with simulation tools aiding in cases of self-generated renewable energy. Marleen Mertens outlined VLIF-support for energy investments, including simplified conditions and bonuses for young farmers.
The more than 70 participants were informed and inspired during the presentations. After that, growers, researchers, companies and other attendees were able to catch up, network and exchange knowledge while enjoying a tasty gourmet burger.
Next year, we will again organise several inspiration and networking evenings for greenhouse growers.