A new future-proof refrigerating installation to optimally store his seed potatoes. That was Jilles Boer of the firm Boer de Jong’s wish.
Two years ago, everything stopped when a leak occurred in his old refrigeration system. “That installation ran on R22 which you can’t refill. So this refrigerating system had to be replaced. As did three barns, which had been built using asbestos sheets. These two factors were crucial in our decision to invest in a new, bigger hangar and installation. Thanks to EQUANS, I chose a halogen-free refrigerating installation which runs on the natural refrigerant CO₂. Now I’m sorted for the coming years in terms of legislation as well as the quality of my seed potatoes.”
To develop a refrigerating installation which runs solely on CO₂, EQUANS was triggered by refrigeration systems in supermarkets. EQUANS' project manager: “CO₂ refrigeration has long been standard in the supermarket sector. We knew the advantages – the installation is very energy-efficient – and we suspected that it could be interesting technology for refrigeration in the agriculture and horticulture sector.
That was proved right when we started testing with CO₂. CO₂ is very energy efficient at an outside air temperature below 15°C. Because products in agriculture and horticulture are stored in the winter when the temperature is low, this application is ideal for this market.”
“My potatoes don’t dry out or sprout, which means they yield more”
EQUANS advised Boer de Jong to consider this CO₂ transcritical refrigerating installation for both the refrigerating quality and for financial reasons. Boer: “I also looked at a Propane-CO₂ installation, but propane is flammable and I felt that was a risk.” By purchasing a CO₂ transcritical refrigerating installation, you are not only eligible for Energy Investment Allowance (a tax advantage) for the entire investment, but also for all related investments. That makes the purchase of this installation even more interesting.
Furthermore, the installation which Jilles Boer bought also generates energy savings of between 25% and 40%, partly through the application of a frequency inverter. This turns off the installation when the outside air temperature is low and automatically switches to refrigeration via the outside air. This installation also guarantees product quality. “CO₂ is a natural refrigerant which is safe for the product. Furthermore the installation has a huge refrigerating capacity and a high air yield. We thus create optimal conditions for long-term storage of agricultural products. The result is minimum drying out of the seed potatoes.”
Boer explains: “The less the potatoes dry out, the more they yield. Because one variety of potato sprouts faster than another, I have two cold stores at different temperatures. One refrigerates at 4.5 degrees, the other at 6. This maintains all my potatoes at the best temperature for their variety and they retain the quality they had when they were harvested up to when they are sold. They don’t sprout or lose any size or weight. For me, that and the future-proof element are the main advantages of this sustainable installation.”