What if your re­frig­er­a­tion sys­tem was also a heat­ing sys­tem?

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS -

Around 10% of New Zealand’s food man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ergy use is ex­pended in re­frig­er­a­tion – meat, dairy, wine, fresh pro­duce; al­most all of New Zealand’s food pro­duc­ers need this tech­nol­ogy. There are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and cost sav­ings, as New Zealand’s old “Freon” (CFC) re­frig­er­a­tion sys­tems come up for re­place­ment. Most of those old sys­tems are likely to be re­placed by am­mo­nia-based re­frig­er­a­tion, a nat­u­ral prod­uct which has been used for over a cen­tury, but fell out of favour due to safety con­cerns which have now been ad­dressed. Ac­tive Re­frig­er­a­tion is us­ing am­mo­nia-based re­frig­er­a­tion to cre­ate si­mul­ta­ne­ous cool­ing and high tem­per­a­ture heat­ing from the same plant, mak­ing sub­stan­tial gains in en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and win­ning a Sus­tain­able 60 award for their work. The Christchurch-based com­pany de­signed and in­stalled their new sys­tem at Ash­bur­ton Meat Pro­ces­sors (owned by A.Verk­erks). Co-Direc­tor Craig Duff ex­plains, “We’d given a pa­per at a con­fer­ence ex­tolling the virtues of high tem­per­a­ture am­mo­nia heat pumps, but we hadn’t had the chance to build one. Ash­bur­ton Meat Pro­ces­sors gave us that op­por­tu­nity. We did all the en­gi­neer­ing work for free be­cause we wanted to prove this tech­nol­ogy will be a game changer.” The fig­ures speak for them­selves. The plant is achiev­ing an­nual en­ergy sav­ings of over $200,000, which has freed up cap­i­tal for main­te­nance and up­grades at other Verk­erks op­er­a­tions. The new kit en­sures Ash­bur­ton Meat Pro­ces­sors’ viability and sta­bil­ity as an em­ployer, and they have been able to in­crease out­put with con­fi­dence. The sys­tem will have paid for it­self within three years. Co-Direc­tor Graeme Green points out that there are other im­por­tant gains. “The ther­mal en­ergy source has changed from Light Fuel Oil (LFO) to a mix­ture of elec­tric­ity and LPG. This has re­duced the plant’s car­bon foot­print by 42% (690 tonnes), low­er­ing ex­po­sure to fu­ture emis­sions trad­ing tax­a­tion, and mak­ing a good mar­ket­ing story.” “Most pri­mary in­dus­try com­pa­nies re­quire si­mul­ta­ne­ous cool­ing and high tem­per­a­ture heat­ing. We think our new sys­tem is com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket be­cause the num­bers are re­ally com­pelling – we can demon­strate that at Ash­bur­ton Meat Pro­ces­sors.” Craig Duff is ex­cited about fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties. “The de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing prin­ci­ple is ap­pli­ca­ble to a mas­sive amount of plant in New Zealand, not just the meat in­dus­try.”

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