Heat Pump Technology Demonstration at APS Dineen Farms
APS Dineen Farms located in Kenilworth, Ontario
This project demonstrated how a modern heat pump technology (commonly used in heating and cooling for buildings and other processes) can replace traditional fossil-fuel combustion to provide heated air for grain drying.
It has been estimated that heat pump grain drying systems can reduce GHG emissions by 80 to 95 percent compared to fossil-fuel based dryers. In addition, the low temperature heat they provide is well suited to maintaining the quality of premium grains such as organic corn and identity soybean.
Finally, heat pump grain drying systems are well-suited for integration with on-farm generated renewable energy such as from solar panels, wind turbines and on-farm biogas CHP systems. This creates added business value as part of a future on-farm energy strategy.
The main finding was that the heat pump was considerably more efficient in grain drying, as measured by the Coefficient of Performance (COP). The COP of the heat pump system was approximately 6.9 compared to the COP of fossil-fuel combustion of approximately 0.8 to 0.9.
This considerably higher performance, combined with the relatively expected low cost of a commercial system, makes heat pump drying systems a cost-effective option for farmers who are currently facing rising energy costs and energy infrastructure challenges.
BLOOM estimates that by eliminating the use of combustion-based fossil fuels such as natural gas or propane, this could lead to projected cumulative GHG reductions of approximately 24,200 tonnes by 2028 in Ontario, based on an assumed market adoption rate of 10 percent per year.
The graph below shows the potential cumulative reduction in GHG emissions per year for combined identity preserved soybean and corn.
The data is based on an annual 10 percent adoption rate of the heat pump grain drying system across applicable farms. The projected curve shows a potential cumulative net GHG emission reduction of 24,233 tonnes within 10 years. This is equivalent to more than 5,100 passenger cars being taken off the road for just corn and identity preserved soybean.
POSITIONING FOR MARKET ADOPTION
There are many demands on the finances of farmers. Grain processing options are a business decision and broad on-farm adoption will only happen when the return on investment makes sense compared to other options. The final commercial cost of the heat pump drying system is expected to be quite reasonable for an individual farmer, once heat pump system production is able to take advantage of volume efficiencies of scale.
Further details are provided in the case study below.
For more information about the demonstration project contact:
Michael Fagan, Senior Vice President
APS Dineen Farms
Greg Dineen, Engineer and Farmer