THE SWITCH FROM SHEET STEAMING TO STEAMING HOOD SAVES 50% HEATING OIL

Yet another German horticultural business has recently made the switch from sheet steaming to sandwich-type steaming using a steaming hood, and the results are impressive.

The business – which is based near Stuttgart in the Federal state of Baden-Württemberg – had been operating successfully for more than 10 years using sheet steaming, and wanted to take a step forwards towards greater energy efficiency.

Raised steaming hood with pikes for sandwich-type steaming

Raised steaming hood with pikes for sandwich-type steaming

Under the guidance of MSD GmbH the business took the step and, instead of procuring a new sheet, it opted for two steaming hoods used in sandwich-type steaming. Instead of guiding the steam under a sheet which is weighted at the edges, the sandwich-type steaming method utilises a special steaming hood equipped with spikes, which drive the steam into the soil to a depth of up to 25cm. The business made the decision to initially operate the hood manually. This involves a single operator lifting and lowering the hood using a lever construction, and moving it while positioned on wide rollers.

 Manually moveable steaming hood with masking foil

Manually moveable steaming hood with masking foil

The result was worth it. The savings generated in comparison to sheet steaming were close to 50%. Instead of almost 6,000kg of steam, the horticultural business only requires just over 3,000kg of steam per greenhouse with a surface area of 260m² and a steaming depth of approx. 25cm, for a target temperature of more than 80°C. This equates to a very cost-effective steam requirement of approx. 12 kg per m². Consequently, energy costs when measured in today’s price for heating oil are below EUR 0.5 per m².

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