Sun Orbit website reviews their greenhouse technology, some of which is featured at Tamera Ecovillage in Portugal as part of an integrated system which includes the Sun Pulse Stirling Engine for producing electricity, pumping water, and producing mechanical energy, a solar-powered kitchen, and various energy storage systems.
Here is a google translation of their German description of their green house technology (version I):
“Sun Orbit, offers two energy greenhouses with different application areas. On the one hand the EPG I (Energy Power Greenhouse), which can do without oil and gas. This can be achieved with a clever mix of solar energy and geothermal energy. If it is possible to heat greenhouses without oil and gas, they save 90% of their energy requirements. In our test field at Lörrach, we have impressively demonstrated this. The energy-efficient greenhouse represents an intelligent and energy-efficient alternative for the future. The pilot plant at the Demeter gardening company Berg is to replace conventional energy sources with renewable energy sources in order to significantly reduce energy consumption for small and medium-sized businesses and contribute to environmental protection afford to. The potential of renewable energies is not yet fully exploited and we are researching intensively to realize intelligent solutions for energy future.
Greenhouses need abundant energy – usually heating oil – in the cold months to create a pleasant temperature for the plants. Approximately 90% of the total energy requirement for the sub-glass cultivation is added to the oil heating system. Our energy-efficient greenhouse is to change that. A clever combination of solar energy and geothermal heat is the result without conventional heating: in summer, the system stores solar energy, which then releases it in winter for plant production. A special membrane envelope gives the 78 square meter greenhouse lightness and greater transparency and is intended to increase its profitability. Underneath the greenhouse roof, light plastic sun glasses and water pipes are installed. The lenses direct the light beams onto the lines and heat the water circulating in it – and convert it into storable heat. The plants penetrate only indirect sunlight. This reduces the heat load on the plants and promotes their growth.
Via a hot water storage tank and five geothermal heat probes, the captured solar heat is transported 30 meters deep into the underground and stored there. In the cold months, it is returned from the earth storage tank to a heating system. The soil thus acts as a kind of pendulum storage. By coupling with the geothermal system, the greenhouse cultures can be kept frost-free in the cold season by means of a low-temperature heating system. Not only the plants benefit from the favorable climate in the energy-efficient greenhouse. The fuel oil also contributes to climate protection. In one year, the greenhouse can capture solar energy with an energy content equivalent to around 3,600 liters of heating oil. By this amount of oil, 9.4 tons of fossil CO2 were released into the atmosphere. Germany’s greenhouses have an annual heating consumption equivalent to 728 million liters of light fuel oil. The potential for savings is immense here.”
Here is what they say about their version 2 green house:
“The Greenhouse Greenhouse (EPG II) is a multifunctional greenhouse where both organic and renewable energy can be produced, regardless of fossil energy. The EPG II is essentially based on the EPG I but offers further advantages in its overall concept.
In sun-rich countries, the cultivation of food in normal greenhouses is a problem since it becomes too hot for plants. In the EPG an optical lens system is installed under the entire south side, which receives 80% of the solar heat. The lenses concentrate the solar radiation on a burning line, in which vegetable oil flows through a black tube. Alternatively, the Greenhouse Cloud can be used in combination with the Liquid Filter, which is also our own optics of Sun Orbit GmbH. Thus the vegetable oil is heated by the optics to about 180 – 200 degrees Celsius. The heated oil is stored in a tank with several 1000 l capacity outside the greenhouse. It flows from this reservoir either to specially designed hotplates (double-walled pots that heat the oil when it flows through) and / or to the Sunpulse 500, which converts its heat into mechanical energy or electricity. We will look at the application modules in more detail in the following product clarifications. This allows the heat extracted from the greenhouse to be used for cooking, frying, frying or generating electricity and mechanical energy around the clock. Vegetable oil is not consumed but circulated in the closed circuit and serves merely as a medium for heat transfer and storage.
The diffuse radiation energy of the sun, which remains in the greenhouse, has the right intensity to enable the plants to grow optimally. The cover of the greenhouse consists of a UV-permeable film with a service life of more than 30 years. UV rays from the sun, with their natural disinfecting effect, reach the interior of the greenhouse, which makes the use of pesticides and fungicides superfluous. In addition, plants and fruits in the natural UV light best develop their full aroma, their color and their taste.
The energy greenhouse is a multifunctional system that combines the solar energy conversion and the crop-oriented cultivation of healthy food and can also be used as a weather protection cover around an indoor building. We call this the “house-in-house concept”.
The following synergy effects occur:
24 hours energy supply for the Sunpulse 500 with hot oil or water as a heat carrier
24 hours energy supply for cooking, frying, frying and baking with hot oil or water as a heat carrier
Pesticide and fungicide-free cultivation of high-quality food
Surface-saving cultivation of food
Ideal for young plants
Water-saving cultivation of food. A solar chamber with a condenser on the ceiling of the greenhouse supports air circulation. The humidity is condensed, the recovered water can be reused and the water consumption minimized.
South side equipped with double tracking SunRay optics, concentrating 60 times or according to the Greenhouse Cloud combined with the liquid filter
Overvoltage with ETFE foil with high UV permeability.
Lifetime: 20 years”