Heat pumps help improve hay yield


09 November 2021
Three AquaForce heat pumps connected to the ground source collection pipes

A Leicestershire farming company has installed a combined 8MW of high-efficiency Carrier AquaForce ground source heat pumps in two projects to increase the quality of hay production. 

Welland Farm was inspired by a previous project carried out by OMNI Heat and Power, in which the renewable energy specialist selected Carrier ground source heat pumps to provide a controlled environment for drying premium quality hay for racehorses.

With its higher efficiency, the Carrier solution uses less power and costs less to run than other options, with a coefficient of performance of 5.24. Alternative options considered required the use of heat pumps based on up to 80 compressors to achieve the desired output to dry the hay.

Content continues after advertisements

"Due to their higher capacity, the Carrier solution required just three heat pumps based on a total of six compressors," said Bradley Martin, Director of OMNI Heat and Power. "This simplifies maintenance and significantly reduces servicing costs for the end user over the lifetime of the equipment."

The systems use an array of pipes buried in trenches for gathering energy from the ground, each with a total pipe length of some 24 kilometres. Once the heat pumps have upgraded the energy collected, it is transferred to air handling units serving the crop drying rooms.

"The quicker and more effectively hay can be dried, the greater the yield, and the greater the return for the producer,” said Bradley Martin. “Traditional methods following harvesting involve leaving bales in the fields to dry naturally, which can result in significant losses due to spoilage in wet conditions. Bringing the crop inside and drying it in a controlled environment results in higher quality and minimises losses."