In Parentis-en-Born (France) a tomato growing company produces 7,500
tonnes of vine tomatoes per annum. The greenhouses are indirectly heated by
hot water from the nearby Vermilion oil/gas facility. Without this heat source the
greenhouses would have to be heated by combustion of oil or gas which would
add to the cost of production. The whole operation supports 250 local jobs.
Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
An unlikely partnership
At first sight a partnership between an international energy producer
and a horticultural enterprise may seem unlikely. Following research
and investigation in the mid 2000s involving Vermilion Energy and a
group of agricultural engineers in Parentis-en-Born (South of Bordeaux,
France) it was decided to establish a tomato growing company (Tom
d’Aqui) next to the Vermilion site on the shores of Lake Biscarrosse
and Parentis. The partnership was formally established in 2008.
(In 1997 Vermilion had taken over an oil and gas producing facility at
Parentis which had begun around 1950. The area is part of the Aquitaine
Basin which contains most of France’s onshore oil/gas reserves.)
The use of ‘waste’ heat in glasshouses
In large greenhouses, covering ten hectares, Tom d’Aqui produces
7,500 tonnes of vine
tomatoes per annum.
The greenhouses are
indirectly heated by hot
water from the oil/gas
facility. Without this heat
source the greenhouses
would have to be heated
by combustion of oil or gas
which would add to the
cost of production. The
whole operation supports
250 local jobs.
How it works
What is extracted from the Parentis field is a mixture of oil, gas and
water. The mixture emerges from the ground at 60°C due to geothermal
heating. The oil and gas are separated. The hot water goes through
a heat exchanger before being pumped back into the ground.
This is done to maintain the pressure in the oil reserve and to facilitate
Download the lesson to find out more.
True or False?
Tom d’Aqui produces 7,500 kg of vine tomatoes / annum.
A heat exchanger is used to transfer heat from a hot medium to a cold one without mixing them.
Insects that are exposed to long-term use of synthetic pesticides never develop resistance to them.
Few insects eat the leaves of tomato plants.
Many types of bacteria are beneficial to plants and they inhibit pathogenic organisms.
During the Industrial Revolution there was little regard for air quality or for the environment.
In order to live more sustainably we need to move to a circular economy in which there is minimal waste.
Ladybirds are natural predators of many pest species.
Tomatoes that have been treated with synthetic pesticides can be sold as organic.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is designed to support the teaching and learning of science and related subjects.
Each annual edition of STA contains a set of lessons that are industry led to be used by all teachers in second level schools. These lessons are available on this website and can be downloaded in a pdf format along with their supporting materials.
A hard copy is usually sent out for free to all second level schools each school year.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is proudly supported and partnered by some of Ireland’s leading organisations and is produced in close cooperation with the support services of the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA).