After several successful projects on Dutch soil, ENGIE Refrigeration has introduced the condensation drying technology in France. Two arable farmers near Orléans can dry and store their onions for the first time without using the outside air.
Rustling onions after one day. A drying process that works twice as fast. Constant product quality and 80% fewer energy costs. ENGIE Refrigeration has kept its promises to several clients in the Netherlands, such as Custer’s Farm, arable farm Mul Zeewolde, and the De Zeeuw brothers. Thanks to the condensation drying technology, they can accurately control drying and storage conditions, without using the unreliable outside air, gas and chemical sprout inhibitors.
Simon Stéphane, an arable farmer in Beauce, was also looking for a modern storage solution where his onions remain at the highest quality. His brand new condensation drying system has been running since May 2020. “We built two storages for bulk storage of two times 600 tons of organic onions that can later be used for crate storage. The installation can dehumidify 236 litres per hour on every 600 tons of onions, which equals 5,000 litres per 24 hours. If you want to achieve that with a traditional storage system, then you highly depend on stable weather conditions, heating capacity, and a lot of gas. Not only very expensive and environmentally damaging but also very risky due to the higher temperatures in which bacteria thrive”, says Stefan Huijsmans, a storage specialist at ENGIE Refrigeration.
Condensation drying can make a significant difference, especially with long-term storage. Huijsmans explains: “Partly because crops may no longer be treated with chemical sprout inhibitors, the product is more lively and produces more moisture. That makes them vulnerable to mould and bacteria. ENGIE’s condensation drying technology can dry and store products at low temperatures and stable conditions. That keep crops calm and prevent them from germinating. This way, arable farmers like Simon can control the process better.”
Also enthusiastic about ENGIE’s condensation drying technology is Ferme des Arches. 45 arable farmers are affiliated with this cooperative in the Beauce region. 1,600 tons of onions, shallots, and garlic is stored in two new storages, 8,00 tons in each cell. Every hour, the condensation drying system extracts 450 litres of moisture from each cell. Crate storage enables the cooperative to store, process, and trade batches of onions more quickly. The natural refrigerant ammonia (NH3) in the installation provides the best energy efficiency. Together with turning off the gas tap, this makes production much more sustainable and energy-efficient.”
Huijsmans: “The climate is changing and chemical sprout inhibitors are banned in Europe. As a result, arable farmers need a system that allows them to control temperatures. A closed system such as condensation drying for storing both onions and potatoes thus becomes more attractive. ”