"Are those EC fans really that much more economical?"
Mark Grubben is an arable farmer in Swifterbant, the Netherlands, where he stores produce at 2 locations. The products he grows and stores himself are 25 ha of ware potatoes and 45 ha of red and yellow seed onions. Other crops are also grown as e.g. cereals.
At the location where he himself lives, many storage facilities have been built over time and he stores around 4,000 tonnes of product. Another 1,400 tonnes of storage capacity is at a later purchased site across the road. Pretty much everything is stored loose in bulk with both semicircular channels and on a slatted floor. There are also 150 boxes in which product is stored. All storage cells have outside air ventilation and no mechanical cooling is installed. He stores most product until the April-June period when deliveries are made.
Basically, Grubben was used to not really paying attention to power consumption during storage. "My father always had the slogan that energy costs nothing. In the past year, of course, that has changed a bit." Fortunately, Grubben had already invested in solar panels on the roofs of the various buildings on the farm in 2010. And because, despite the substantial storage capacity, he is still a small consumer with his 2 x 80A power connection, he can just balance his consumption. Of course, this has resulted in considerable savings on energy bills in recent years. Especially since the fans in the storage facility actually run mainly at night when it is cold anyway. The direct consumption of solar energy for the fans is then only limited. "At the other location, solar panels will also be installed soon," says Grubben. "Especially this year with the various tax benefit schemes, that still pays off. Despite the fact that net-metering will be phased out in the future."