Great Yarmouth-based company CeraPhi Energy says that geothermal heating technology could transform the east of England’s food production capacity in greenhouses warmed by plentiful supplies of cheap, clean heat from the earth’s crust.
Chief executive Karl Farrow told the Eastern Daily Press, “Using heat as energy in its primary form, instead of using boilers to burn a fuel and generate that heat, could achieve a transformation in the way we produce and process our food. Why are there pineapples from South Africa and avocados from Mexico in our shops when we could be growing them ourselves? Why are we flying in tomatoes? We could be growing Norfolk and Suffolk strawberries and watermelons, the best fruit you can grow per hectare – three cycles a year means a harvest of 40,000kg a year that could sell for £2.99 a kilo bringing in £120,000 a year – 12 months of the year.”
Further north, Durham Community Action and the Durham County Council Low Carbon Team are working with consultants District Eating to explore whether the warm water that is being pumped out of the former coal mines in Horden in East Durham can be used to support food production.
The broad aim of the project is to reduce carbon emissions through the efficient production of food, either in a commercial or a community-run capacity.
Photo Caption: Heat from coal mines in County Durham could be used to grow food.