19 August 1997

Potato store cuts fuel bills

POTATO store costs could be cut by almost 50% by using a system which strikes a balance between best store conditions and lowest running costs.

The system, developed initially at the Farm Energy Centre, Stoneleigh and now available commercially through Perth-based Redwood Refrigeration, aims to make better use of off-peak electricity tariff periods.

Farm Energy Centre engineer, Andrew Kneeshaw says that after potato stores reach target temperature, most of the operating time of the compressor can be pushed into off-peak periods.

The load management system works by monitoring daily refrigeration use and "learning" the current refrigeration requirement. This is then used to predict how the system needs to run.

Protection is afforded by an override function which cuts in the system if temperatures rise above a pre-set maximum. Once cheap electricity tariff times are programmed into the controller, lowest running costs are established.