At SOLHO, we have developed an off-grid energy conversion unit called SPRHOUT, Solar PoweRed Horticultural Off-grid UniT, which, using the sun as its only source, can fulfill all the energy needs of a greenhouse based horticultural project (GBHPs). The SPRHOUT has three key features: it is completely off-grid, it can operate 24/7 (also over prolonged periods without sun), and it allows to dramatically decrease the operational costs of a GBHP.
The key components constituting the SPRHOUT technology are: a field of solar thermal collectors, a power unit, a thermal energy storage (TES) system, and modules for CO2 capture and water treatment.
Solar energy is harvested through the collectors, stored in the TES system, and used to operate the other units on-demand: this allows to fulfill the requirements of a GBHP in terms of electricity, heat, water for irrigation, and CO2 as a growth enhancer. Despite the larger initial investment, the significant reduction in operational costs leads the SPRHOUT-GBHP’s to a ROI (return on investment) similar to or higher than the one characterizing fossil fueled off-grid GBHP’s. Furthermore, the SPRHOUT technology brings the carbon footprint of food production close to zero in a LCA (life cycle analysis) perspective, making an important step towards a sustainable future for Humanity.