Globally, agriculture accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and uses nearly two-thirds of freshwater. Adoption of indoor farming utilising Total Controlled-Environment Agriculture (TCEA) systems has the potential to eliminate the use of agrochemicals, provide local, year-round production of nutrient dense crops, use 95% less water, and be net-zero carbon emitters.
The main challenge for mass deployment and adaption of TCEA is financial viability; the specific challenges to address in order to enable the economics of indoor farming are the costs related to Carbon intensive energy (particularly electricity) contributing 50% to 70% cost of goods sold (COGS).
The United Kingdom aims to reach carbon neutral target by 2050, corresponding policy and regulation changes is attracting significant investments in clean energy generation. Nevertheless, introduction of more distributed renewable generation, with its inherent intermittent nature, will make grid balancing more complicated and costly, particularly for large consumers that rely on electricity to provide products and services. On the other hand, the UK power grid is already tested to its limits during a harsh winter (temperature below -5C) with more strain to come with the electrification of heating and electric vehicle charging. An increase in flexibility is necessary to mitigate potential mismatches in supply and demand induced by these changes. Flexibility must be harnessed not only on the supply side but also on the demand side, an approach that is referred to as demand-side flexibility.
Access to reliable and cheap electricity has been a challenge in South Africa for a long time. Power intermittency affects the baking industry as well. Turbo Green Burner has been developed to produce flameless heat for use in bakeries while also generating electricity, which can be used within the bakery system or exported back to the electricity grid. The Turbo Green Burner features a digital burner management system to ensure more efficient fuel consumption and better reliability throughout the product service life. The fuel consumed to make electricity is significantly cheaper per unit than electricity purchased from the grid, leading to a reduction in both energy bills and carbon emissions. Turbo Green Burner has a low emission multi-fuel combustion chamber allowing it to run on natural gas, Diesel, Bio-Gas, LNG, and Kerosene, which will increase the adoption rate and eliminate the need for a specific fuel, subject to availability. An integrated battery pack and the capability to run on multiple types of fuel have made the product a completely grid-independent system. Being grid-independent makes it a solution for remote locations, providing power and heat to pave the way for performing industrial activities in locations with limited access to power and gas grid.
ST-CHP is a unique proposition that addresses the energy trilemma in South Africa by providing low cost distributed power generation, better control over security of supply and reducing emissions, whilst making power available in remote locations. It is a micro combined heat and power system generating 3.44 kW of power and delivering 25 kW of heat simultaneously. This system is capable of capturing and utilising renewable solar heat to reduce CO2 emissions, dependency on fossil fuels and operation cost, whilst benefiting from a multi-fuel combustion chamber (LNG, LPG, Diesel, Biogas) to cover over-night operation and the renewable intermittency and shortfalls, as well as making it adaptable in various locations. It will reduce the need for back-up diesel generators and consequently improve the air quality in South Africa because of reduced NOx emissions.