After months of planning and developing, building and installing, the SARA project has recently started their operation. This 18.3 hectares area of 3 greenhouses and powerplant project, which is considered very big for Japanese understandings, is an example of highly innovative horticulture worldwide. There was an official opening ceremony on 21st of June 2019. More than 120 invited people were attended this special event. Peter Spaans, Director of van der Hoeven Greenhouse projects was one of the speakers and expressed that this Sara project will inspire also other investors in Japan and the rest of Asia. Watch the SARA project video here and discover its unique features.
Overview of 3 greenhouses and biomass powerplant
Producing healthy food
At SARA — they want everyone to be able to enjoy high quality, fresh, tasty vegetables year-round, knowing that those vegetables are safe and healthy. To achieve this goal, leading-edge horticulture technology with state-of-the-art renewable energy technology were combined to create an efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective agricultural system that integrates the knowledge and the needs of all stakeholders and business partners, including producers, distributors, and consumers.
Reason for this location
The greenhouse was built in an area of reclaimed land (former sea area) in the Kasaoka Bay. Why there? Because this region’s virgin soil provides the perfect environment for an entirely new approach to farming. Working closely with local communities, while engaging in intensive research and development, as well as developing strategic relationships with a variety of companies, an agricultural model has been established that is future proof.
The climate in Kasaoka City – is known for its warm and humid summers, which makes it difficult to create a suitable greenhouse climate as pad and fan cooling only works when the outside air is dry. Van der Hoeven developed a special version of the ModulAir greenhouse concept especially for this project. With this concept growers can produce all kind of vegetables in a hot and humid climate. This system is called the ModulAir HACO concept.
Sustainable Biomass powerplant
A biomass powerplant supplies all the energy for the greenhouse and to the grid. The powerplant wins energy by burning woodchips. Special techniques are developed for Sara to make the CO₂ released from fat-burn ready to use it in the greenhouse. The CO₂ is needed for the growth of vegetables in greenhouses.
The electricity conceived by this bio powerplant supplies is 10.000KW, and they contracted the Japanese power-net to supply energy for the next 10 years. The result is a totally sustainable, recycling-oriented facility capable not only for meeting its own energy needs, but also those of the surrounding community. Electricity produced by the power generation plant will be fed into the grid via the local electric power company in accordance with the Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy. Also the powerplant can produce cold water which will be stored in big buffer tanks. This cold water can be used in the summer period for extra cooling capacity.
Overview of biomass powerplant
The Greenhouse Energy Management System (GEMS)
The Biomass powerplant provides heat, cold, CO₂ and power. To manage and control the greenhouse demand and the different levels of heat, cold and CO₂ the GEMS system was developed. This Energy Management System, made by Hitachi for the biomass powerplant and connected to the LetsGrow.com cloud platform. The Hoogendoorn iSii computer stores the important energy data into the cloud platform for optimizing the energy in the greenhouse.
ModulAir and HACO system;
Van der Hoeven has built this semi-closed greenhouse so called ModulAir including the HACO system, which make it possible to cool down the greenhouse climate in hot and humid areas. The Hoogendoorn iSii process computer controls the ModulAir and HACO equipment and the greenhouse climate, CO₂ levels and the irrigation for the tomatoes, peppers and lettuce. The iSii system continuously keeps the GEMS system up to date on the required energy in the 3 different greenhouses.
Inside the corridor of the ModulAir greenhouse
Training the local staff;
The management of Sara hired two professional growers. Godfrey Dol is the expert in tomato crops and helps to manage and operate the tomatoes and peppers. Tim van Hissenhoven is well known as the lettuce specialist. A big part of their job is training the new Japanese growers. This team of Japanese growers is already well trained with the Hoogendoorn iSii computer, which is also available in the Japanese language. Both Godfrey and Tim are glad to work with the iSii computer which is easy to use and flexible. Also the modules of Letsgrow.com are installed for the important reports of Plant Empowerment. This give the growers more insight into information of the growing conditions in the different crops.
Left: Tim van Hissenhoven – right: Godfrey Dol – in the lettuce greenhouse
Many different parties worked together for this project, this unique combination of specialist forces, resulted in a top notch greenhouse. Both from the Japanese and Dutch side.
All partners fulfilled a specific role in this project; van der Hoeven; supplied the complete Modulair and HACO greenhouse project. Daisen worked on local project management, construction and ground work, and Takuma supplied the complete Biomass powerplant. Patron supplied the technical installation and irrigation, Hitachi was supplier of the GEMS system for the Biomass powerplant. Hoogendoorn supplied the automation (iSii process computer) and cloud platform LetsGrow.com for data-analyse and Plant Empowerment purposes.