An app to quantify radiative heat loss from greenhouse crops
Deploying a thermal screen in the night gives a significant reduction in radiative heat losses from the crop and heat losses of the greenhouse in general. The reduced radiative heat loss gives a smaller vertical temperature gradient in the crop. Deployment of a thermal screen results in increases in top-leaf temperatures of 1‑2°C, which allows for a higher humidity set point without risk of wet leaves, even at higher humidity in the greenhouse. This increment in tolerance of humidity is the second contribution of thermal screens to energy saving. Both aspects of thermal screens have made increased screening one of the main pillars of next-generation cultivation, a term referring to growing strategies that reduce energy consumption while promoting crop production. In order to support knowledge on screens and to stimulate growers to apply the benefits of next-generation cultivation, an app was developed that quantifies the effect of screens on leaf temperature and transpiration. On top of that, the app computes the net radiation from the crop, a figure that has gained attention as more and more growers install net radiation sensors in their greenhouse. The effect of screens is, of course, dependent on the outside and inside climate conditions, the crop, the greenhouse covering material and the type of screens used. The app enables the user to select the screen and covering materials from a number of options and to select from a number of crops. Among the screens, a selection can be made from partly open shading screens to transparent energy screens and completely blocking blackout screens. Also, the effect of artificial light can be shown. The app solves the steady-state energy balance of the greenhouse to calculate the promptly presented output. With the output, a quick exploration of the effect of screens on radiative losses and crop vertical temperature profile can be made, to learn from this for practical use.
de Zwart, H.F., Baeza Romero, E.J., van Breugel, A.J. and Mohammadkhani, V. (2018). An app to quantify radiative heat loss from greenhouse crops. Acta Hortic. 1227, 69-76
thermal screens, energy saving, thermal infrared transmission, air permeability, dynamic greenhouse model