ONE OF Norway's largest producers of tomatoes is aiming to market its produce as carbon neutral, by investing heavily in renewable energy and a closed CO2 management system within its greenhouses.

The Lauvsnes Gartneri business at Finnoy, outside Stavanger, already yields up to 1000 tons of tomatoes annually with 'a clean carbon consciousness'.

"Creating the best possible experience for our tomato-loving customers entails being at the forefront of new technology and societal trends," said owner Jan Terje Vignes. "The future is climate neutral, which means that tomatoes must also contribute by putting new climate technology to good use in our greenhouses."

The company is already recognized for its innovation, having increased the tomato yield five-fold over the past ten years. Now Lauvsnes Gartneri will utilize new tools and technology to further increase the annual tomato production by implementing climate neutrality measures, in collaboration with technology company GreenCap Solutions, which has developed a unique, patented, large-scale carbon dioxide removal solution for the greenhouses ,through a closed system monitoring the temperature, humidity and CO2level of the air inside.

"Because it is a closed system it is easier to achieve the right concentration of CO2in the air which allows for optimal growth," said GreenCap CEO Bjørn Rygg. "This new technology does not give any emissions to its surroundings while in use and the solution is 100% climate neutral.”

In addition to the greenhouse technology, the company has developed their own unique process for capturing CO2 directly from the air, storing it and releasing the correct concentration through carbon dioxide rich air in the growth zone inside the greenhouse. What’s unique about GreenCap’s technology is that no chemicals are added to the process as they use a material named zeolite as the capture material.

"I must admit that it is fun to be able to say that we are fighting greenhouse gases by providing greenhouse technology,” added Mr Rygg.

The project is under development, and it is expected that all production at Lauvsnes Gartneri will be undertaken in closed systems by the end of 2021 and that the direct air capture for CO2 will be implemented during the first half of 2022. When the installation is completed, the production at Lauvsnes Gartneri will be 100% climate neutral and fit to meet the climate requirements of the future.

The closed greenhouse system will not give any emissions to the external environment, and will thereby reduce the total emissions from the vegetable farm. As part of that, the system will be able to utilize water condensed from the air, and provide an annual reduction in water use for the production from over 60 million litres per year to about 20 million litres per year – and annual tomato production will be increased by 40% while utilizing the same space and improving the climate inside the greenhouse.