Investigating novel glass technologies and photovoltaics in protected cropping
This project surveyed smart glass and renewable energy technologies available worldwide, evaluated their cost-effectiveness based on energy savings, productivity impacts and economic viability, and recommended optimal solution for growers who wish to use advanced energy efficient technologies in their greenhouses.
Key recommendations resulting from this research include:
- Installing smart films/smart glass to reduce heating and cooling costs, and water consumption. The type of smart films should be chosen according to the weather condition of the location.
- Growing leafy vegetables in the greenhouse with smart films/smart glass, which will significantly increase leaf yield.
- Proceeding field tests with newly designed smart film for plants, which is expected to improve the quality and quantity of fruits and save the costs.
- Further developing the evaluation software to be more user-friendly for growers to estimate the cost-effectiveness of different renewable technologies according to the weather conditions and the structure of their greenhouse.
- Installing solar thermal collectors, especially in cold areas to compensate the heating and cooling cost
- Introducing new technology, such as radiative cooling to reduce the cooling cost.
- Integrating photovoltaic with solar thermal technology to simultaneously generate electricity and hot water and save the required land.
- Replacing energy curtain with flexible solar panels to generate electricity without modifying the infrastructure of greenhouse or requiring extra space.