In Flanders and the Netherlands greenhouse production systems produce economically important quantities of vegetables, fruit and ornamentals. Indoor environmental control has resulted in high primary energy use. Until now, the research on saving primary energy in greenhouse systems has been mainly based on analysis of energy balances. However, according to the thermodynamic theory, an analysis based on the concept of exergy (free energy) and energy can result in new insights and primary energy savings. Therefore in this paper, we analyse the exergy and energy of various processes, inputs and outputs of a general greenhouse system. Also a total system analysis is then performed by linking the exergy analysis with a dynamic greenhouse climate growth simulation model. The exergy analysis indicates that some processes (''Sources'') lie at the origin of several other processes, both destroying the exergy of primary energy inputs. The exergy destruction of these Sources is caused primarily by heat and vapour loss. Their impact can be compensated by exergy input from heating, solar radiation, or both. If the exergy destruction of these Sources is reduced, the necessary compensation can also be reduced. This can be accomplished through insulating the greenhouse and making the building more airtight. Other necessary Sources, namely transpiration and loss of CO2, have a low exergy destruction compared to the other Sources. They are therefore the best candidate for ``pump'' technologies (''vapour heat pump'' and ``CO2 pump'') designed to have a low primary energy use. The combination of these proposed technologies results in an exergy efficient greenhouse with the highest primary energy savings. It can be concluded that exergy analyses add additional information compared to only energy analyses and it supports the development of primary energy efficient greenhouse systems. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Vapour heat pump
- Exergy efficiency