ESB provides low-carbon heat solution for UK greenhouse project

Designing and delivering the largest low-carbon heat solution for a 29-hectare greenhouse project in the UK

8 October 2019

ESB’s Smart Energy Services is embarking on a world-first £120 million (€134 million) greenhouse project.

By using large scale energy solutions as an alternative to fossil fuel heated glasshouses, the project will provide a model for decarbonising agriculture and heat.

Smart Energy Services, a business line within ESB, offers large scale low-carbon energy solutions to reduce emissions and energy usage. It has been deployed by Greenhouse Capital to design, install and manage combined heat pump (CHP) plants for the UK’s largest and most sustainable agricultural greenhouse sites in Norfolk and Suffolk.




The project is expected to be up and running next autumn. Once completed, the two sites will cover 29-hectares, the equivalent of 20 Croke Park pitches.

Combined heat and power plants will generate electricity for the pumps. They will also provide supplementary CO2 to accelerate crop growth recapturing a high proportion of carbon created. All electricity and heat produced by the CHP units will be used on site; making them some of the most efficient units installed in the UK.

The open-loop heat pump solution transfers heat from the nearby water recycling centre to the greenhouses. It also cools the facility’s treated water outflow before it is returned to the environment.

The greenhouses will provide ideal growing conditions for plants and vegetables that require high-heat and relatively low-light environments such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

“Through ESB’s Smart Energy Services management of this greenhouse project, we are providing a viable low-carbon solution to significantly help reduce the emissions from a large-scale project,” said Ciaran Gallagher, head of Smart Energy Services, ESB.

“As with all other large energy users that we work with, this offering allows the greenhouses to reduce its carbon emission footprint.”

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