The project incorporates two specific engineering processes namely:
- Refrigerant to Hotwater Heat Recovery and;
- Thermal Energy Storage (TES)
Whilst Refrigerant to Hotwater Heat Recovery is not new in the commercial sector, it is primarily used on large singular refrigeration systems, incorporating brazed plate heat exchangers, which only harvest the superheat portion of the wasted refrigeration energy.
This Cheese Factory site also differs from the conventional, because its processing size has meant that multiple smaller refrigeration systems are required to process its’ premier stable of Cheese products. Additionally, the project also had to overcome the rigorous constraints of meeting an acceptable financial payback, to ensure its viability.
With the aid of a grant, the inclusion of a business lease company and the assistance of German Eureka products, the project was able to get off the drawing table and on to the manufacturing shop floor.
The TES part of the process is of equal importance, the engineering team immediately recognised that a sufficiently sized storage device, integrated with their onsite processing computer, would allow the Cheese Factory to literally strip the majority of the waste energy throughout the day from the refrigeration processes, providing preheated hotwater to the various cleansing practices.
It also assists in radically diminishing the operation of the 450 Watt (12off) condensor fans and 3kW (10 off) roof ventilation fans.
The net result of utilising the unique Eureka PTE harvesting and TES process provides renewable 1200-1500 kWs of free hotwater daily, which reduces the operation of the onsite gas boiler, this is the equivalent energy required to heat the hotwater of an average 120-150 homes per day, with an added advantage of increasing the nominal cooling capacity of the refrigeration plant and reducing the “total” onsite electrical consumption by 5% per month.