The vegetable shortages recently seen in the UK could be a thing of the past – if the industry supports the latest innovation that allows waste heat sources, such as from manufacturing processes, wastewater treatment, data centres, power stations and anaerobic digestion sites, instead of gas, to heat greenhouses according to Faye Tomson of District Eating.
District Eating develop horticulture projects that utilise waste heat and CO2 for growing, which can create a cost-effective solution to the current heating regimes employed by most UK growers. The typical solution is gas combined heat and power (CHP) which provides the vital ingredients for growing greenhouse crops in cold climates like ours in the UK; heat, power and CO2. If heat and CO2 can be sourced from waste, the costs of servicing greenhouses decrease, which enables our growers to keep their costs down, and compete with imports.
Faye believes we could be self-sufficient in terms of growing vegetables in the UK, if new greenhouses are built next to power stations, anaerobic digesters, and factories that produce the all-important waste heat and CO2.
Being able to supply the UK food industry with much needed facilities for becoming sustainable can only be a win-win, as many current clients testify.
‘Apart from being great for environmental and social responsibility, being involved with this move towards making the UK self-sufficient in terms of providing food for its population, it is a great marketing and business accolade,’ added Faye.
‘Soon all food and drink producers will have to report on their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions-the emissions arising from their production. The carbon savings that could arise from using waste heat and CO2 in greenhouses are immense, and will result in low carbon local produce, which is a real selling point for the increasing number of ethical shoppers.’