Project highlighted: Storage with indirect cooling in Belgium
In Verlaine (in the province of Liège), growers are continuing to invest in storage so that they can guarantee the quality of their potatoes and keep complying with the current legislation.
In 1992, the owner decided to broaden the activities of the family business by switching to the cultivation of potatoes. In 2000, he moved from the family farm to a location a hundred metres away. The plan was to build a modern facility and supply washed potatoes. His son took over the business in 2010. “By supplying washed potatoes, you avoid dust on supermarket shelves, in the trunk of your car and in your kitchen,” says his son. The farm has around ten potato varieties that it sells to supermarkets and shops in the region, but also to the thriving French fries industry in Belgium and to wholesalers.
After the company moved in 2000, its storage capacity was around 3,600 tons, divided over three storage cells fitted with an indirect cooling system. In 2015, they expanded the existing storage with two cells of 2,600 tons each. These were fitted with four ventilation and cooling units (QCC 40).
Because their commercial activities are growing all the time, in 2018 father and son decided to expand with another four storage cells, each with storage space for 1,750 tons of potatoes. These storage cells are fitted with indirect cooling with a QML 120 in each cell. Out of respect for the neighbourhood, they fitted their storage system with silencers. Use of the QML and QCCs brought the following benefits: smart control, variable cooling capacity and energy-efficient EC fans.
This year, they replaced the cooling units of the very first storage cells after more than 15 years of loyal service. The chiller was replaced by a GCU-I (Green Cooling Unit), which supplies indirect cooling with the natural refrigerant propane. Minimal moisture loss and energy savings play a major role in mechanical refrigeration. The Tolsma-Grisnich GCU-I is a cooling system that was developed for the highest storage yield. At the same time, they decided to manage the systems with the ‘Energy Management’ module. This has resulted in considerable saving in energy costs. The module measures and regulates energy consumption according to pre-defined priorities and the maximum permitted energy consumption. This ensures that the energy produced by the solar panels on the roof of the 2015 storage facility is being used efficiently.
The total storage capacity of the full crates now consists of ten cells that can handle more than 15,000 tons of potatoes. With the current GCU-I cooling units, combined with the energy module, the family is now ready for the future.