Much of our food is produced in greenhouses and requires huge amounts of energy for heat and light.

Project Insights

  • €286,245

    Total Project Costs
  • 3 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2018

    Year Funded

Project Description

The production of food will continue apace to meet global demand as the global population reaches 10 billion people in 2050. The energy and carbon footprints associated with food production and distribution poses major sustainability challenges for decarbonisation pathways towards a low carbon economy. Greenhouses provide at least 15% of overall food, and are more efficient than open-air/land systems, due to controlled conditions (photoperiod, fertilizers, temperature, humidity, light, absence of pests etc.). Due to arable land constraints, highly productive greenhouse systems with low energy footprints are necessary to be scaled. Greenhouses use almost 18,000,000 kWh per year for heating and lighting. To transition to energy-positive food systems, it is necessary to develop next generation energy-generating greenhouses with improved energy efficiency that can deliver optimal crop growing environments and ideally act as net generators of energy. We propose to develop a Next Generation Modular Energy Generating Greenhouse (NG-MEGG) as an experimental test-platform to generate evidence for the optimal portfolio of innovations and technologies to be deployed for an NG-MEGG. The NG-MEGG project will combine cutting-edge interdisciplinary expertise in plant science, engineering, environmental modelling, agri-economics and energy policy with state-of-the-art energy saving and energy generating technologies, within a novel deployment concept. The development of a scalable NG-MEGG solution to food and energy production that can be scaled will contribute to a decarbonisation pathway for Ireland, supporting a national energy and sustainability policy goals. The NG-MEGG prototype will simultaneously contribute towards food sustainability and energy security at national scale.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €286,245

Funding Agency: SEAI

Year Funded: 2018

Lead Organisation: National University of Ireland Galway

Collaborators: Food 360 Ltd; Bill Madden Nurseries

Charles Spillane

Lead Researcher