Partner Insight: Agri Heat Pump Specialists are making net zero a reality for farmers

Calibrate’s Heat Pump Rescue Package is already showing dividends

clock • 5 min read
Partner Insight: Agri Heat Pump Specialists are making net zero a reality for farmers

At the last count, agriculture was recorded as contributing around 11% of the UK's Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, of which an estimated 2% is CO2. This may appear a low number, but one that translates to roughly 6.4 MtCO2e per year being released into the atmosphere. Imagine 1,154,401 hot air balloons lined up in the sky containing CO2 and you have a good picture of how vast an amount that is.

To mitigate against this for reasons of cost and conscience, many farmers were swift to adopt sustainable technologies to reduce these harmful emissions, but several years on they are starting to feel the pain of early adoption. Many early systems are now ageing and in need of vital maintenance or upgrades and the pioneering farmers at their helm are feeling frustrated by their altruistic actions.

An increasing number of businesses need to update their heat/chill systems

Jack Smales, Managing Director of Calibrate Energy Engineering (part of RSK Group), who design, install, maintain and upgrade commercial renewable heat pump systems, explains the position the business has found itself in, in recent times:

"We have seen un upturn in agri-businesses approaching us with heat pump systems that need fixing or upgrading. This seems to fall into three categories. Firstly, those farmers who admit to not maintaining the technology as it should have been and are desperate for help. Secondly, those who no longer have access to this service because the original installer has stopped trading due to Covid or other economic factors. Thirdly, those who continue to expand their business and so their technological operations need to catch up with as little disruption as possible."

 

The ever-increasing number of enquiries has inspired change

 

Calibrate are rising to meet the demand

As a result of these increased enquiries, Calibrate has incorporated these recovery and upgrade packages into its strategy:

"We had several companies approaching us who weren't customers asking for help", continues Jack. "This was because their heat/chill systems were no longer working, were no longer efficient, were under performing or causing business disruption and financial drain."

There is a financially viable way to achieve the goals we are all ultimately striving for... Spend less and protect the planet

Jack Smales, Managing Director

"In response, we revisited our own business plan, and decided that we had both the skills and capacity to help. Taking on other installers' work is not something we considered lightly as it can be fraught with problems but given the context and market demand for bringing perfectly serviceable systems back on track, we decided to add it as a business service. We were also keen to quash the perception that renewables were not the way, when it is quite the contrary!"

One poultry farmer with a 5MW heat pump system installed by another supplier that was no longer performing well, approached Calibrate for help. Despite receiving £600,000 a year from Ofgem's RHI tariff, it was still costing the farmer £300,000 a year to run and becoming a financial drain. To make things worse, its poor performance reduced its rating below Ofgem standards, jeopardising its six-figure income.

Jack adds: "Having fully assessed the system physically and its data remotely, based on readings from in the system using our virtual assessment tool Calibrate Analytics, we devised a plan of works to maximise performance."

 

Calibrate have already helped people save vast sums of money

 

How updating your system today could save you money tomorrow

Calibrate prides itself on an innovative approach to identifying and fixing problems, and due to this intervention, to the customer's relief, at a time of high energy prices, they received a return on investment in the first year. This equated to £117,000 electricity cost savings and a reduction of 136 tonnes in CO2. That's 25 hot air balloons per year!

It has been a similar story with another poultry farming client, who was also wanting to bring an old heat pump back to life. Calibrate assessed the problem in-hand, the outcome of which was a series of works to increase the coefficient of performance (COP) to within Ofgem standards. The most significant of the upgrades was 500kW of heat recovery to maximise the efficiency of the system to save money and capture waste energy to re-use it to provide an overall improved outlook of carbon emissions for the site's environmental standards. The successful project culminated in the client joining the Calibrate service and maintenance plan for future security and peace of mind.

 

An increasing number of heat pump systems need to be fixed or upgraded

 

Being hugely experienced in the heat pump industry, the team are not unaccustomed to being recognised for various accomplishments. As award winners in the ACR & Heat Pump Awards five years in a row and receiving the highest accolade in the Royal Highland Show Technical Innovation Awards, Calibrate continues to demonstrate ground-breaking solutions. But the business does not sit back on any laurels; the team is aware there are more businesses out there needing support to transition to renewable solutions, or indeed as is the case here, to recover older systems back to their former glory or better.

Jack concludes: "Our original purpose was to be a small business packing a punch installing some of the largest heat pump systems in the world, such as our largest award-winning 8.2MW system installation that dries the biggest tonnages of grain in the country with a capacity to heat a small town. However, if we don't help maintain and support existing commercial systems, fitted by companies who no longer exist, then our ethical aims and the industry as a whole will be set back.

"We have therefore made a commitment to ensure these re-worked systems are performing well, are highly efficient, that carbon is reduced, more energy is created and that there is a financially viable way to achieve the goals we are all ultimately striving for: spend less and protect the planet."

 

[email protected]

http://calibrateenergy.co.uk

Interested in exploring how to save on energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions? 

Open event

Calibrate are ready to help any business interested in saving money on their heat pump system. On July 24th, they are holding an open day at Hauxley Poultry Farm - click the link below, or scan the QR code for full details!

 

This post is funded by Calibrate.

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