Energy | Sundrop Farms

Tailored automation solution for cutting-edge

greenhouse technology.

Init delivered the automation solution for a prestigious greenhouse concept at Sundrop Farms in Australia. The Sundrop Farms grow high-value crops using seawater and sunlight. The greenhouse system harnesses the sun’s energy to convert seawater to freshwater for irrigation, electricity to power the greenhouse, and the energy to heat and cool the greenhouse crops.

 

Challenge: Automating a first-of-its-kind greenhouse system

Sundrop Farms boasts that they are the first in the world to grow something out of nothing. And they do so with good reason. While a typical greenhouse would use groundwater for irrigation, gas for heating, and electricity for cooling, the Sundrop system relies on seawater and sunlight for its energy and water needs.

 

The new state-of-the-art Sundrop System in Port Augusta, South Australia, will:

  • heat the greenhouse, that covers almost 50 acres of land, during the winter or on cold summer nights
  • provide fresh water by desalinating seawater drawn from the nearby Spencer Bay, and
  • periodically run a steam turbine to produce electricity.

 

But building an automation solution and control system for such a plant requires ultra-flexible solutions. And it also requires a strong project team of experts who understand the plant’s entire process.

Solution: A reliable control system powered by experience and close collaboration

Sundrop Farms found some of those experts as far away as Denmark. They chose Aalborg CSP A/S – a leading pioneer of concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies – to develop and deliver the integrated solar energy system for the operation of its new greenhouses. And they selected Init to supply the control system. Init and Aalborg CSP have previously delivered world-class solutions for the solar industry together.

 

Init’s prime task in the Sundrop was to ensure that the system functions seamlessly throughout the year and adjusts to different seasonal demands. Therefore, Init’s engineers developed a control system capable of distributing or saving power according to available storage and weather forecast. The control system is designed in such a manner that the Init commissioning team could easily implement solutions to unforeseen complications and add new functionalities after delivery.

 

We are very proud and pleased to be a part of this great project in Australia. A project that once again draws on our core competencies and which will demonstrate the knowledge base we have built up during the past decades.

Troels Severinsen, Business Unit Director at Init.

 

Result: A flexible and future-proof control system for a greener future

Sundrop Farms’ needs for adjustable and simple control was a key driver in the design of the automation solution. This resulted in a system that can be trusted for operation for years to come. And with its built-in flexibility, Sundrop’s staff can easily adjust the functionalities of the control system to accommodate new operational requirements.

 

The benefits of a system like this are evident:

  • Conservation of freshwater resources
  • Fewer “food miles”
  • Reduced pesticide use
  • Reduction of fossil fuel demand
  • Efficient use of marginal land

 

With its cutting-edge greenhouse system, Sundrop Farms achieved all of this whilst maintaining a profitable business.

Reach out

for more information

Troels Severinsen

Business Unit Director

+45 40 28 59 43

[email protected]

Init Aalborg, Denmark

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