Consuming conventional fossil fuel, such as coal, natural gas, and oil, to heat agricultural greenhouses has contributed to the climate change and air pollutions regionally and globally, so the clean energy sources have been increasingly applied to replace fossil energies in heating agricultural greenhouses, especially in urban area. To assess the environment performance (e.g., greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions) of the ground source heat pump system (GSHPs) for heating agricultural greenhouses in urban area, a GSHPs using the shallow geothermal energy (SGE) in groundwater was applied to heat a Chinese solar greenhouse (G1) and a multispan greenhouse (G2) in Beijing (latitude 39°40′ N), the capital city of China. Emission rates of the GSHPs for heating the G1 and G2 were quantified to be 0.257–0.879 g CO2 eq. m−2 day−1. The total GHG emissions from heating greenhouses in Beijing with the GSHPs were quantified as 1.7–2.9 Gt CO2 eq. year−1 based on the electricity from the coal-fired power plant (CFPP) and the gas-fired power plant (GFPP). Among different stages of the SGE flow, the SGE promotion contributed most GHG emissions (66%) in total due to the higher consumption of electricity in compressors. The total GHG emissions from greenhouses heating with the coal-fired heating system (CFHs) and gas-fired heating system (GFHs) were quantified as 2.3–5.2 Gt CO2 eq. year−1 in Beijing. Heating the G1 and G2 with the GSHPs powered by the electricity from the CFPP, the equivalent CO2 emissions were 43% and 44% lower than directly burning coal with the CFHs but were 46% and 44% higher than the GFHs that burn natural gas. However, when using the GFPP-generated electricity to run the GSHPs, the equivalent CO2 emissions would be 84% and 47% lower than the CFHs and the GFHs, respectively.
Part of the book: Greenhouse Gases