The use of cogeneration systems to provide heat and power for greenhouses that grow anything from vegetables to flowers, is somewhat common in Europe mostly using reciprocating engines. It is not as common in the U.S. And rarely, on either side of the Atlantic, are gas turbines used as the heat and power source in this kind of use.
Now, Caterpillar Inc. and SunSelect Produce, Inc., Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada, a producer of greenhouse-grown vegetables, have announced plans for a strategic collaboration that will take waste products from Caterpillar’s combined heat and power cogeneration facility in Mossville, Illinois, U.S., and use them in an adjacent SunSelect hydroponic greenhouse. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals, satisfactory due diligence, permitting and closing conditions.
SunSelect will purchase real estate adjacent to Caterpillar’s energy generation facility Advanced Tri-Gen Power Systems (ATPS), to construct a hydroponic greenhouse. ATPS, which opened in 2001 and was purchased by Caterpillar in 2012, is a nominal 40 MW operation using three Solar Turbines Titan 130 gas turbines.
The greenhouse is expected to utilize excess thermal energy and carbon dioxide from ATPS’s turbines. By providing low-grade heat and abundant CO2, the collaboration will be designed to maximize plant production in the SunSelect facility and allow for more efficient use of Caterpillar’s power generation plant.
While the specific products to be grown have not yet been announced, SunSelect is a producer of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, tomatoes, mini-cucumbers and long English cucumbers.