South Australian tomato producer d'VineRipe® built the first phase of the glasshouse in 2007 consisting of 8 Ha, in Two Wells near Adelaide. The production results proved to be excellent, which in a combination of increased demand for tomatoes led to a second phase investment, more than doubling the growing capacity. Munters supplied the cooling technology for both these projects and d'VineRipe’s facility now has a production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year, owing to energy efficient and stable indoor climate.
The high-tech facility glasshouse signifies the future of horticulture since it stems from sustainability thinking inside out. All water used to cool the 5,517 m2 total area of CELdek® evaporative cooling pads is either from a sewage treatment plant or rain captured on the 17ha site. 724 Munters Euroemme® EM50n exhaust fans optimize airflow, temperature and humidity control.
Glasshouse production yields 10 times the product of an equivalent area in field production, which means that the area occupied is maximized in production efficiency. There are also plans to use plant waste for biodigesting or decomposing which could potentially produce a gas to replace the natural gas currently used to operate the glasshouse.
Munters equipment enable maintaining temperatures inside the glasshouse at a permanent 24–28 °C and humidity between 65% and 75% regardless of the outside temperature. Furthermore the climate control system has yielded a higher than average percentage of first grade tomatoes, reduced the risk of disease and reduced use of herbicide/pesticide.
D’VineRipe General Manager, Leon Maree notes that “no other type of system could provide the same benefits as a pad and fan system and that achieving a higher than average percentage of first grade fruits in production is due to the excellent climate control qualities of the system”.