The surface of greenhouses heated with geothermal energy in Turkey increased by 400% since 2002, according to Mücahit Kıvrak from the Balıkesir University. The country has more than 500 hectares in such facilities, compared to the world total of 1,500 hectares.
Turkey is one of the superpowers in geothermal power with 1.68 GW of installed capacity in 2021. It came in fourth, behind the United States, Indonesia and the Philippines, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, which registered an overall 15.64 GW. But it is holding the first place in the world in geothermal energy used in greenhouses, Turkish officials say.
Anadolu Agency reported the country has more than 529 hectares in greenhouses heated with geothermal energy out of the world total of 1,500 hectares, citing data from the Türkiye Jeotermal Derneği association and Balıkesir University. The renewable source can also be used for spas, residential heating, drying fruit and vegetables, fish farming and other purposes.
Experts estimate Turkey’s potential at up to 3,000 hectares.
Invigorating infertile land
Mücahit Kıvrak from the Balıkesir University’s Edremit Vocational School said the country achieved a 400% growth in geothermally heated greenhouses since 2002. He pointed out that such facilities can be set up on infertile land and that they can provide constant temperature, unlike wood or fossil fuels, and enable up to 60% more yield.
The top regions in Turkey are Afyonkarahisar, with 90 hectares, Izmir (81.9) and Manisa (75.6 hectares).
Geothermal water must be reinjected underground
Özer Kula, Kıvrak’s colleague from the same vocational school in the country’s west, noted that geothermal water must be injected back to the source to avoid harming biodiversity. As for geothermal greenhouses, they can use the heat left over after the hot water was used for district heating or in manufacturing, he stressed.
Soil can be heated with a source of up to 40 degrees and the maximum water temperature for heating air in greenhouses is 80 degrees Celsius, Kula added.
The article adds the second-largest geothermally heated greenhouse in the world is in Bergama, Izmir. The 60-hectare Agrobay facility produces 15,000 tons of tomatoes per year. Board member Arzu Şentürk Salık said heating costs are 80% lower than with coal.
The Sakarya Metropolitan Municipality, east of Istanbul, has just established a greenhouse heated with geothermal energy on 2.5 hectares and a research and development center. It is targeting annual tomato output of 1,250 tons and the facility is planned to be expanded.