This project was named the winner in the Industrial Project of the Year category of the RAC Cooling Industry Awards 2015. The judges were impressed with its results and with the repeatability of the method.
Heat recovery project
Dovecote Park is the dedicated beef supplier to Waitrose. The Dovecote Park site in Skellingthorpe, near Lincoln, has undergone considerable investment to provide state of the art slaughter and maturation facilities.
The customer's problem
When the air-cooled condenser was found to be leaking refrigerant, we were asked to assess the situation and advise on likely solutions. After careful assessment, the condenser was deemed unrepairable, with a replacement required in order to keep the production line in operation.
Replacing a like-for-like condenser was the obvious and immediate solution. However, after observing the factory’s operation we advised making an innovative addition to the condenser: a heat recovery unit. This unit takes the excess heat which is created as a by-product of the refrigeration plant’s operating process and uses this energy to boost water temperatures, providing hot water which can be used for cleaning and sanitation.
The heat recovery unit was designed to be incorporated into the discharge pipework, allowing Dovecote Park to recover the amount of heat needed to boost the mains incoming water to the required temperature. The performance of the heat recovery unit is determined by the load on the compressor pack; the higher the compressor load, the greater the heat recovered.
The heat recovery unit increases the temperature of the water - which is at +10°C when it comes in to the condenser - to around +55°C. Operating this system also means that the discharge temperature is reduced, as is boiler usage, gas consumption and, therefore, the company’s carbon footprint.
With the industry’s energy reduction targets in mind, we chose energy-efficient motors in the new plant to ensure that Dovecote Park’s initial capital outlay can immediately start to be repaid through reductions in boiler usage.
In addition, our installation of RDM Data Manager software and hardware to monitor plant performance has boosted Dovecote Park’s ability to be proactive. By giving staff early indications of mechanical issues affecting temperatures and production machinery, rapid action can be taken to reduce energy wastage and downtime.
We collaborated with heat recovery specialist Eureka to provide a solution that was not only cost-effective in the short and long-term, but that also met the company’s energy reduction targets – and, by association, those of Waitrose. The heat recovery unit was designed to meet the functional needs of a busy production line, whilst aiming to increase yield and productivity.