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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Biomass Heating for Cut-flower Production


Use of EAFRD co-financing in the Netherlands to introduce traditional biomass heating back into commercial rose production as part of a successful strategy for economic survival and environmental sustainability in a competitive horticultural sector.



Jos and Rianne Otte from Zeeland in the south west of the Netherlands are commercial rose growers who produce around 1 million roses on an annual basis for the domestic and export markets. The Otte’s grow their roses under cover in 7 200 square metres of greenhouse and were looking for a more environmentally-friendly and cost effective alternative to their existing gas-powered greenhouse heating system.


The project objective was to introduce biomass as an alternative energy source to natural gas so that the business could meet its energy demands in a way which would a) not damage the environment and b) make the company more socially responsible and financially healthy. Initial financial projections indicated that the biomass investment would have a maximum pay-back period of 4 years, but with the economic downturn this increased to 6 years.

Main activities

A wood-burning furnace was installed as the primary heating source for the greenhouse and is fuel with regionally-produced biomass such as shredded pruning waste, wood sawdust and shredded wooden pallets. The project costs also included construction of storage silos and an automatic feed system for the furnace. This is existing technology, but it is not very often used in horticulture. A network of regional biomass suppliers was also established.

Results & Benefits

The wood-burning stove provides 100% of the heating needs of the greenhouse. The natural gas connection is no longer being used. It has proven economically feasible to heat the greenhouse carbon-neutrally. Mainly because of the lower energy costs. Production has been increased, and the quality of the roses has improved - switching to the biomass burner has therefore been a successful survival strategy in adverse economic circumstances.

Lessons learnt

Pioneers learn by experience and there were some difficult issues to tackle with this project, but finally the investment secured a better chance of economic survival within the rose-growing sector. Lessons learned include: i) the importance of good local contacts to ensure a reliable supply of biomass, and; ii) not to overlook permit procedures e.g. the chimney had to be extended so that the neighbours are not hindered by the exhaust fumes.

Project location and other information

In the province of Zeeland, in the south west of The Netherlands



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

210 000

EAFRD contribution (€)

75 000

Private contribution (€)

135 000

Contact name

Jos and Rianne Otte


+31 113 344859

Languages for contact

English, German, Dutch

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Individual farmers

Budget range

€20 000 - €99 999

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Competitiveness of Agriculture & Forestry
• Restructuring, developing physical potential, and promoting innovation
• 121. Modernisation of agricultural holdings


Greenhouse gas, Recycling, Biomass, Renewable energy, Innovation

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