Star Refrigeration has helped one of Britain’s top food manufacturers slash their energy bills and enhance their environmental profile with cold store upgrade
Star Refrigeration has overseen the transition to natural cooling solutions at the Blakemans’ cold storage facility in Newcastle Under Lyme after the leading producers of sausage and meat-based products in Europe pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by 55% by 2025.
The food manufacturer was looking to replace multiple HFC refrigeration systems serving two frozen food coldstores at their production facility. The existing cooling system comprised six separate plants operating on synthetic refrigerant R404A, a gas which is now being phased out under F-Gas Regulations.
Star proposed the use of natural refrigerant ammonia and carried out the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of an Azanefreezer 2.0. The low charge ammonia system which has a global warming potential (GWP) of zero and impressive efficiency credentials has led to a 77.3% reduction in Blakemans energy consumption and average CO2 emissions of less than a tonne per day.
Phil Blakeman, Managing Director at Blakemans said “In March 2020, we made an important investment to switch our cold store refrigeration system from an R404a plant to an Azanefreezer 2.0 unit. The previous system accounted for around 24% of our annual electricity consumption in 2018. Comparatively, the Azanefreezer unit is much more energy efficient, consequentially having lower electricity consumption and lower CO2e emissions. Being one of our biggest energy uses on site, we expect to see significant savings on our CO2e emissions for years to come”.
“We have taken a big step in reducing the volume of environmentally detrimental substances on site. On top of this, we are currently working with Star on the next stage of our site refrigeration upgrade.”
With a cooling capacity of 290kW Blakemans’ Azanefreezer 2.0 provides cooling to maintain a temperature of -22°C in each of the cold stores, both of which are used for storage of frozen packaged meat products and raw ingredients. The pre-packaged air-cooled system is located on the roof, with all valves positioned externally to eliminate risk associated with leakage.
The ‘plug and play’ freezer has now been in operation for 12 months and data collected from the 14,100m3 cold store facility indicates that the plant consumes around 35KWh/m3 per annum. The drop in energy usage and carbon output is due the Azanefreezer’s clever design, which uses a low-pressure receiver and four evaporators, each of which is equipped with reverse cycle defrost technology.
In keeping with their focus on sustainability, Blakemans also took the option to include data monitoring and plant performance optimization system Ethos on their new Azanefreezer 2.0 to ensure energy usage transparency.
Ethos collects operational data from the PLC and analyses the gap between the ideal and the actual operating conditions to identify inefficiencies. The data is displayed on a dashboard which contains lots of useful information for plant operators and owners.
The Blakemans project was completed following a carefully phased 15-week installation programme which required the temporary relocation of the existing coldstore condensers to make space for the Azanefreezer. Star’s expert engineering team carried out decommissioning and disposal of all existing equipment, whilst maintaining temperature continuity and ensuring 24/7 operation in both cold stores.
Star’s two year warranty and ongoing service and maintenance support will help Blakemans to improve their environmental performance, reduce their energy costs and future-proof their business against any upcoming legislation.