GE (NYSE: GE) and its customer Houweling’s Tomatoes, a leading North American greenhouse grower, today unveiled the first combined heat and power (CHP) greenhouse project in America that captures carbon dioxide (CO 2) for use in plant fertilization. Using two of GE’s 4.36-megawatt (MW), ecomagination-qualified Jenbacher J624 two-staged turbocharged natural gas engines and a GE-designed CO 2 fertilization system, the plant provides heat, power and CO 2 to Houweling’s 125-acre tomato greenhouse in Camarillo, Calif.
Using two of GE's Jenbacher J624 two-staged turbocharged natural gas engines and a GE-designed CO2 fertilization system, the plant provides heat, power and CO2 to Houweling's 125-acre tomato greenhouse in Camarillo, Calif. (Photo: Business Wire)The first greenhouse CHP project in the U.S. also gives an added boost to California’s goal to generate 6,500 MW of new CHP generation in the state by 2020. The project represents the launch of GE’s J624 two-staged turbocharged gas engines for the 60 Hz segment and the first of these engines sold in the U.S. Introduced by GE in 2007, the J624 is the world’s first 24-cylinder gas engine for commercial power generation and can be used in various applications. It also is the first gas engine featuring double turbocharging, which makes it even more efficient. Today’s announcement supports Houweling’s position in the agriculture industry and state of California as a forward-thinking, innovative business. Late last year, California Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown honored Houweling’s with a 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for developing environmentally friendly practices while contributing to the local economy. Powering the Greenhouse and the Community Fueled by natural gas, Houweling’s CHP system provides 8.7 MW of electrical power and 10.6 MW of thermal power (hot water) for heating the large-scale glass greenhouses on-site. The system offers a total thermal efficiency of nearly 90 percent. When considering the avoided energy that would be required to externally source the CO 2 and the recovery of the water from the exhaust, the overall system efficiency exceeds 100 percent. Western Energy Systems, GE’s authorized U.S. distributor of Jenbacher gas engines and part of the Penn Power Systems organization, engineered and installed the cogeneration plant. The CHP plant will enable flexible generation and contribute electric power during peak daytime demand periods. With a five-minute start-up capability, this high-efficiency plant also provides power to the electric utility for augment of the power grid. Additionally, the thermal energy produced from the engine during power generation can be transferred to the greenhouse immediately during cooler periods or retained in existing thermal storage tanks for use at other times of the day.