Power For Plants

11 June 2018

GE’s Distributed Power is providing three more of its Jenbacher gas engines and greenhouse balance of plant to Den Berk Délice’s greenhouses in Belgium.

One of the units was installed at Den Berk in Merksplas in November 2017, one will be installed at Den Horst in Merksplas in August, and one will be installed at Luc Beirinckx BVBA in Herentals in September. Currently, GE has an installed base of 27 MW at Den Berk’s greenhouses, and this project will add an additional 13.5 MW of power. GE’s high-efficiency cogeneration Jenbacher gas engines will use natural gas to provide heat and power to Den Berk’s greenhouse complex and carbon dioxide (CO2) to fertilize the tomatoes plants. The result of continuous enhancements and extensive experience, GE’s Jenbacher Type 6 gas engines have a 1500-rpm engine speed, which results in a high power density with low installation costs, and its pre-combustion chamber achieves high efficiency with low emissions.

Through a multiyear service agreement, the gas engines also will be connected to GE’s myPlant Asset Performance Management (APM) platform.

“GE’s Jenbacher Type 6 gas engines offer fuel utilization levels of around 100%including the condensation heat of the exhaust gases, which provides Den Berk with a time-independent and high-quality supply of CO2 for fertilization of the tomato plants as well as heat and power for the greenhouse and to the grid,” said Norbert Hetebrüg, regional sales director covering Western Europe including Germany and Central Eastern Europe for GE’s Distributed Power business. “In addition, Den Berk’s Jenbacher gas engines—and about 1250 other Jenbacher gas engines installed in greenhouse applications around the globe—are monitored around the clock at GE’s Greenhouse Center of Excellence in the Netherlands. Many of them are using our myPlant APM solution for gas engines where engineers collect data that helps them calculate each plant’s operational state and foretell potential service events.”

GE’s myPlant APM solution for gas engines is a digital internet solution designed to improve uptime and efficiency, reduce life-cycle costs and drive operating performance and profitability. It provides a set of tools for advanced data management, predictive analytics, troubleshooting and remote control to reduce maintenance costs of customers’ power plants. The myPlant APM platform uses secure, centralized cloud storage to collect the data from customers’ Jenbacher gas engines, drive equipment and balance of plant by regularly transmitting sensor data streams, control alarms and operational data. Depending on the myPlant package and access level, customers and service providers are provided with several capabilities from basic visibility to their fleets to advanced monitoring and analytics-enabled diagnostic capabilities.

“For more than a decade, we have been relying on GE’s Jenbacher gas engine solutions and services to power our multiple greenhouses. Our longstanding relationship with GE continues to grow, and we rely on its proven technology and deep domain expertise. GE’s gas engines provide a bridge to renewable energy and are helping us do our part to help meet Belgium’s renewable energy goals,” said Luc Beirinckx, owner, Den Berk Délice. “The flexibility of GE’s Jenbacher technology allows it to be activated during periods of low renewable power supply or tariff spikes, while conversely being able to be curtailed quickly during periods of high feed-ins of renewable energy or low energy prices.”

GE’s Jenbacher gas engines provide a powerful solution for greenhouses by using natural gas to not only provide electricity for on-site power or to the public grid, but also for heat and CO2 to fertilize the plants and meet the requirements of an efficient greenhouse. By increasing the intensity of the artificial lighting that is found in some greenhouses, plants absorb even more CO2. The cogeneration process also produces an incredible amount of heat, which non-greenhouses use to keep their buildings warm or incorporate into parts of their operations.

“One of the main advantages of GE’s Jenbacher units is that they produce nearly 1.8 kg of CO2 per m3 of natural gas during the process,” Hetebrüg said. “With CO2 being a major ingredient in plant production, greenhouses can pump it into their buildings and boost crop efficiency by as much as 140%. Therefore, by using our Jenbacher gas engine technology, growers can boost crops, store heat, sell surplus energy and run these flexible engines at all times.”


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