Carbon-Neutral Tomatoes: Norwegian Tomato Producer Adopts Zeolite DAC Technology
One of Norway’s largest tomato producers is taking a bold step towards carbon neutrality. Lauvsnes Gartneri, a tomato farm in Norway, produces about 1,000 tons of Juanita tomatoes in their greenhouses every year. In June of 2021, the tomato producers announced they would be the first to adopt a new carbon removal technology from GreenCap Solutions.
GreenCap Solutions is a Norwegian company that creates energy and solves environmental problems for industrial greenhouses and vegetable producers, like Lauvsnes Gartneri, that will use direct air capture technology to produce carbon-neutral tomatoes. According to GreenCap, the stored CO2 captured from the outside air makes the plants grow faster, stating that the Lauvsnes Gartneri operation will experience a 40% increase in plant growth while maintaining carbon neutrality.
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GreenCap’s DAC technology will pull carbon dioxide from the air and channel it into Lauvsnes Gartneri’s greenhouses, infusing the optimal amount of carbon dioxide for the tomatoes to grow. Since carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis, creating the perfect CO2 balance in a greenhouse can act as an airborne fertilizer.
GreenCap’s DAC uses adsorption. Adsorption is a process in which a gas or liquid adheres to a solid surface as a thin film, and in GreenCap's system that solid is zeolite. Zeolite is a naturally occurring mineral that can also be produced synthetically. It has a large surface area of micropores able to sequester carbon from the air. The CO2 essentially sticks to the zeolites before being redistributed to the greenhouse. GreenCap states that by using zeolites, they can keep their carbon capture chemical-free. The DAC method has increased efficiency with low emissions. In capturing carbon and using it to grow tomatoes, Lauvsnes Gartneri aims to achieve carbon neutrality.
Lauvsnes Gartneri is the first greenhouse to use GreenCap’s carbon capture system. The Norwegian government, through the greenhouse gas reduction scheme Enova, is helping to fund the project.
GreenCap will begin building the carbon capture system at the end of 2021 and is expected to be operational in spring 2022, with the goal of having Lauvsnes Gartneri be 100% carbon neutral by the end of 2022.
The project reflects a desire from small farmers, tech companies and governments to push new green technologies forward. As GreenCap installs its DAC at Lauvsnes Gartneri, more farmers will learn about the product. With subsidies from the Norwegian government, over time, the technology can become cheaper and more widespread, meaning more productive greenhouses and less CO2 in the atmosphere.
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