DAEJEON, Sept. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials declared on September 5 that the world’s first gas heat pump possessing the “triple threat” capabilities of heating, cooling, and generating carbonic acid gas as fertilizer had successfully passed on-site testing.
Previous methods of providing greenhouses with heating and cooling required the installation of individual generators which was cost and energy-inefficient.
Subsequently, the utilization of the gas heat pump throughout the winter resulted in a smaller heating bill by 40 percent.
Furthermore, the carbon dioxide from the main gas engine’s exhaust is rerouted into the greenhouse, cutting down on air pollution and playing a part in boosting total harvests by 20 percent.
The engineering team behind the gas heat pump reportedly faced significant difficulty in separating carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide from the exhaust that was funneled towards the greenhouse. The two chemicals are deadly to plants.
The team eventually was able to reduce hazardous gas emissions by 90 percent compared to standard engines through the implementation of a combination of post-combustion emissions controls.
Using a remote control or a smartphone app, one can regulate the humidity, temperature and the levels of carbon dioxide.
Professor Lee Sang Min, the head of the engineering team, pointed out the advantages of the new technology. “Prior ‘smart greenhouse’ technologies were limited to monitoring temperatures with a CCTV camera or by opening and shutting windows, but the developed engine is a ‘smart energy’ tech instrument that can restrict the actual energy provided to the greenhouse,” he said.
The gas heat pump was developed over a period of three years starting in 2014. It has been tested by moth orchid growers in Paju and tomato farmers in Chuncheon since the beginning of the year.
Paju farmer Jung Jin Pyo gave the pump a vote of confidence, saying, “Growing moth orchids is a tricky business as carbonic acid gas levels need to be carefully maintained and the flowers cannot be in too warm an environment in summer and not too cold in winter. After beginning to use the gas heat pump, the results have been that the flowers’ colors have become more beautiful and the plants themselves have grown longer with more petals.”
New gas heat pumps will be supplied to three farms next year by the Rural Development Administration for additional trials.