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GE Energy Inaugurates First North American Greenhouse Cogeneration Facility

EBR Staff Writer Published 10 July 2009

GE Energy opened its North America’s first GE-designed greenhouse cogeneration facility in southern Ontario. The plant is installed to generate onsite power and heat for commercial greenhouses and help to reduce its emissions from power generation.

Great Northern Hydroponics, a division of Detroit-based Soave Enterprises, installed the 12-megawatt commercial greenhouse power station at Soave’s sprawling, 55-acre tomato greenhouse complex in Kingsville, Ontario. The facility is situated near Lake Erie’s north shore in the Leamington region, around 50 kilometers east of Detroit and 350 km west of Toronto.

Powered by four of GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engines cogeneration modules, the onsite power plant is one among the seven natural gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) projects approved by the Ontario Power Authority in 2006.

The plant generates sufficient electricity to Ontario’s transmission grid that can serve around 12,000 to 15,000 Canadian homes annually. Under a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority, surplus of power generated from the plant is sold to the local grid.

The power plant, In order to support greenhouse operations, also treats the gas engines’ exhaust, enabling carbon from the exhaust to be recycled and applied as a special fertilizer to enhance greenhouse crop production. CHP plants consume less fuel compared to separate systems to produce the same amount of power. As a result, cogeneration can help to reduce regional industrial emissions associated with energy production.

GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engine business has developed the special CO2 fertilization/cogeneration system.

DDACE Power Systems, GE’s Jenbacher engine distributor for eastern Canada has supplied greenhouse cogeneration system. The engineering services for the North American reference plant were provided by H.H. Angus and Associated of Toronto.