H Timmis Farms

A poultry farm of 300,000 broilers with a 10-year contract supplying a major supermarket. The farm installed a ground source heat pump and solar technology 7 years ago with a 3rd party supplier but it was not working efficiently and was costing the client far more than it should to run. If installed and maintained correctly, heat pumps should be immensely efficient, with multi-heat, chilling and energy-generating opportunities.

Poultry needs heat and it’s time critical getting the sheds to the right temperature of 32°C and remaining consistent. However, energy costs had doubled and were exceeding budget with annual costs going from £220,000 to £440,000 and still climbing.

Project

Calibrate had seen many similar cases and approached the owner with a proposal of how to get the heat pump working optimally to mitigate rising energy costs. As the technology has moved on a pace since installation, lack of maintenance and upgrades left the pump a financial drain rather than an appreciating asset. Having developed Calibrate Analytics© pre-Covid, a clever controller to interrogate the pump and site’s energy use and identify ways to save money, Calibrate were in an ideal position to optimise the system and significantly save costs.

“These improvements have had a massive impacton my bottom line by slashing my electricity input from the grid to offset much of the cost increases meaning a swift return on investment of my outlay for the re-works. In addition, I am using much fewer KWh to run the heat pump, so this has significantly reduced my CO2 output from grid electricity, making the farm greener.”
Rob Timmis, H Timmis Farms

Process

Taking on other installers’ work is not something Calibrate do lightly as it can be fraught with problems, but given the context and market demand for bringing perfectly serviceable systems like Timmis’ back on track, Calibrate have devised a business model for optimising systems using a mix of data analytics and engineering re-works. Calibrate plugged in the innovative software and could show in real time, what some simple changes would make to the farm’s bottom line. From the data gathered from the controller, the team set about designing a series of improvements to transform performance.

Outcome

The heat pump’s co-efficiency of performance sat at just 2.0 with Ofgem’s lowest requirement being 2.9. Not only was the system under-performing, but it was also putting the farm’s substantial RHI tariff rebate in jeopardy. As a result of the control software addressing system inefficiencies and parasitic loads caused by unnecessary plant running times, the COP quickly increased to 3.0 finally taking it beyond Ofgem standard.

The next big step-change occurred when Calibrate carried out pipe re-works to the heating loop. The outcome was a COP jump to over 4.0, a 100% improvement on its original state.

Next Steps

Following assessment through Calibrate Analytics© and optimisation through system re-engineering, the next step that Timmis and other businesses can then consider after a software upgrade is Calibrate’s Gridflex service. This is where the controller acts as an energy aggregator, adjusting electricity use at peak times and selling excess energy back to the National Grid.

Gridflex fully manages this behaviour, providing clients with a totally hands-free passive income running in parallel to business as usual.

Timeline

APRIL 2022

Calibrate met with Mr Timmis to discuss his requirements and ways to re-invigorate his renewables systems.

MAY 2022

Connected Calibrate Analytics© to Mr Timmis’ system and started running the bespoke software in real time to demonstrate the poor efficiency of the system.

JULY 2022

Worked with the client to agree a plan of works to maximise potential for the system.

AUGUST 2022

Calibrate re-engineered the system for better performance in a tightly squeezed slot of just 4 days before the chickens were delivered.

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Reduction in KW usage on previous 3 years
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