The New York Times reports on a new program for Dutch flower growers to buy carbon dioxide and reuse it in their greenhouses:
Mr. van Os produces four million roses each year, flooding the atmosphere inside his vast glass canopy with pure carbon dioxide to bolster his crop. What is unusual is that he now gets the carbon dioxide piped in directly from Pernis, a Shell refinery that is Europe’s largest and typically discharges tons of the gas into the atmosphere every year.
"You can just hear it," said Mr. van Os, as carbon dioxide hissed through small plastic pipes, feeding the long-stemmed red roses all around. "It goes pshh."
Carbon dioxide is, of course, a necessary part of photosynthesis for plants, and CO2 levels can get low in greenhouses. Recent studies have shown that growers can increase their yields and make carnations and roses flower earlier by boosting carbon dioxide levels in the greenhouse. It may not be enough to gobble up all the excess carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere every day, but it’s an interesting development nonetheless–especially if growers are able to reduce other chemical inputs they had been using to force flowering, and further reduce their impact on the environment.