Cheaper cooling with a robust system
The new Tolsma-Grisnich mechanical cooling system in Peter Holster’s storage facility faced a challenge from the start: it had to work smoothly together with his existing cooling system, which is from a different manufacturer. After almost a full season of cooling experience, the seed potato grower is very satisfied. “It’s exactly what I was looking for.”
When Peter Holster had a new box storage facility built for his seed potatoes in 2017, he already knew that a new mechanical cooling system would be added later. Connection points for the evaporators and condensation water drains had already been installed in the new building. But when the time came in 2019, there was an unexpected complication. The supplier of his existing storage system had gone bankrupt.
“No matter what, I wanted to be in a position that I could go to one company for everything if anything happened. So not to one company for the control cabinet and the sensors and to a different company for the refrigeration and the storage computer.” After a round of tenders with multiple companies, Holster chose Tolsma. “I had a good feeling about them,” he explains. “And I was right. I’m really happy with the system they installed.”
On Tolsma’s advice, Holster opted for the Green Cool Unit (GCU) 45 (the number indicates the cooling capacity). Tolsma adviser Paul den Engelsen, also at the interview, explains: “The GCU 45 gives you what we call direct cooling. This type of system is ideally suited for situations with a limited number of cells and no major temperature differences between them. Incidentally, the electic connection value is only around 20% of the cooling capacity. This is down to the high efficiency of the system.”
Den Engelsen believes that the greatest advantage of this system is its simplicity. “They’re modern systems with no frills. Their simplicity makes them cheaper and means they’re easier to install and adjust. They’re very robust systems.” Holster continues: “It’s a kind of ‘plug and play’ system. Of course you have to define your refrigeration strategy yourself, but I was able to use it more or less independently after the first instruction session.”
The Holster cooling system uses a natural refrigerant. In Tolsma’s GCU series, this is propane. “This refrigerant fits perfectly with this direct cooling system and with the changing climate conditions it gives you much more operational reliability than CO2 as a refrigerant,” says Den Engelsen. “You work with low pressure and the system volume is limited. The pipes and welding are very high quality. Our installation work complies with the very latest safety regulations.” Holster sees even more benefits: “Natural refrigerants are more environmentally friendly and cheaper.”
As already mentioned, Holster’s new cooling system had to operate alongside an existing storage system of a different brand. “That made it a pretty unusual assignment,” says Den Engelsen. “But we managed to make it work with relatively few interventions. We only needed to make minor adjustments to be able to reuse the existing temperature sensors. And we had to replace a PLC in the control cabinet for the link with our Vision Control storage computer. But that was all.”
According to Holster, the Vision Control computer that operates the system is its strongest asset. “The whole thing is very user-friendly. The computer shows you exactly what’s happening in the storage facility. You can keep track of the storage regime at all times. And if you make mistakes with the settings, help texts are displayed automatically. The manual is in the computer, you could say.” Because Holster has recently installed solar panels in his storage facility, he plans to use a special module of the Vision Control to make sure that the system makes optimal use of his own green electricity. “And if necessary, we can expand the system with a module that takes the weather forecast and fluctuations in the energy market into account,” adds Den Engelsen.
Holster can look back with satisfaction at almost a full season of refrigeration experience. “I’m definitely a satisfied user. No doubt about it, the cooling system is working perfectly and the controls are really user-friendly. It’s a great product.” Holster is also very happy about the entire process, from the tender to post-delivery. “The system was ready earlier than planned; that was a nice surprise and it meant I could benefit from the cooling sooner than expected. And the preparatory phase also went smoothly; we were able to quickly agree on what I needed and what was technically possible. Tolsma inspected the site thoroughly in advance so that there were no unpleasant surprises. And a month after delivery, a mechanic dropped by out of the blue to check the system. All in all, I’m really happy I chose Tolsma.”
Thanks to his new box storage facility with Tolsma refrigeration, Holster feels that nothing can stop him now. “I’m ready for the future. “The cooling is in line with the latest environmental standards and I have even more control over the quality of my product. I grow high-quality seed potatoes and they deserve high-quality treatment.”