From Russia with Love (for Greenhouses)

All around the world greenhouse industry grows with high speed because of huge and growing demand for fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries, especially in wintertime. The Russia follows this trend as well, additionally motivated by self-sanctions and national supporting program of the government. Considering the cold climate, geographical location (mostly in the North) and the biggest on Earth territory the main challenges for a greenhouse in Russia are heat, electricity for artificial lighting and logistic.

If one can solve the issues with heat and electricity via installation of boilers or/and generators or/and obtaining electrical grid connection, the issue with logistic remains. The natural gas connection is also important, but I am not touching in this article the regions without natural gas pipeline.

To mitigate the logistic issue an investor searches for the land plot closer to the consumers (which are usually Moscow and St. Petersburg, sometime capital of the region or another big city). Most common vegetable greenhouse size in Russia varies from 10 to 50 ha and it is not always easy to find a proper land plot with all necessary ingredients: proximity to the consumers, electrical grid connection, and road infrastructure.

Usually at least one of abovementioned ingredients is missing and investor forced to choose a land plot without electrical grid connection with infrastructure close to the consumers. In this case there is still a possibility to feed artificial lights with electricity generated by Cogeneration Heat and Power (CHP) running on natural gas.

Fortunately, modern CHP technologies are very developed and already proven worldwide. They can reach electrical efficiency up to 45%, total efficiency up to 90%, and to guarantee the cost of kWh which is in most cases twice (in some regions triple) less expensive comparing with the grid in Russia.

Another advantage of CHP system is possibility to work in island operation mode (without electrical grid) and provide the greenhouse with electricity for artificial lights and heat for heating system. Furthermore, there is a technology which allows to purify exhaust gas from CHP and use it as CO2 for plants fertilization. All together it makes CHP economically most efficient and attractive solution for the investor.

What is also important for investor and future greenhouse management is easy operation and proper maintenance of the system to make sure that greenhouse will be receiving electricity, heat, and CO2 uninterruptedly, especially during the cold season when the most vegetables are demanded by consumers.

Operation of CHP system certainly requires agronomical and technical skills, but very high level of automation and user-friendly interface make it easy and logically clear. Grow light computer of CHP together with Master control panel work synchronously with Greenhouse computer and manage to follow the parameters set by agronomist (at the Greenhouse computer) automatically.

Maintenance of CHP units usually provided by specialized service organizations. It is possible to obtain a long-term (10-15 years) service contract with full coverage of preventive & corrective maintenance and guaranteed availability of the power plant 95-97%. This type of service contracts provides investor with an opportunity to secure his business model from unexpected electricity, heat, and CO2 shortage due to the technical failure.

CHP system shows itself as an essential solution for the Russian greenhouses. It allows to place greenhouse closer to the consumers, save costs on logistic. At the same time, it can generate much less expensive electricity for the artificial lights comparing to the electrical grid. It can simultaneously generate heat for the greenhouse heating system, and in addition to fertilize the plants with pure CO2.

To learn more about AB greenhouse cogeneration plants, operation & maintenance of CHP and control systems developed by AB, please contact for Europe, Russia and CIS More info at

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