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Energy Cost Savings For Dairies

Energy Cost Savings for Dairies

If you are looking to reduce your farm energy costs, then you have visited the right place.

Save up to 50% on your energy costs using biomass, biogas or duel fuel energy with cogeneration for your dairy farm.

Seeking a long term solution for the rising power costs involved in diaries, many farmers are seeing the benefits of investing in cogeneration systems. Inoplex CHP Cogeneration technology provides an efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective power alternative using a range of fuels including biogas or biomass.

Power when you need it.

An Inoplex CHP Cogeneration system will produce the power you need when you need it. A CHP cogeneration doesn’t need batteries or sunlight to provide you with power early in the morning or late at night. The unit automatically turns up and down to meet your power needs.

Producing hot water at 80 C too.

All the time the CHP is following site electrical demand, it is heating hot water too. Your new CHP unit is supplied with a water tank, and the CHP will heat the water in the tank up to 80 C, or another temperature that you set. This hot water is supplied into your existing hot water tank and its heating elements will not switch on as the water supplied is already hot. You will have plenty to hot water for washing and sanitation from the CHP.

And Milk Cooling – Trigeneration

If the CHP produces more hot water heating than you need, then consider your milk cooling. We call this combined cooling, heating, power or CCHP or Trigen. This could be the case if you have solar hot water heating, heat pumps that pre-warm your hot water or hot water harvested from your milk refrigeration. We get that every farm is different.

Your farm can reduce its milk cooling electrical load by use adsorption chillers to produce cold water from excess hot water.

So, just to recap, a CHP Generator produces:

1. Power for the milk refrigeration and milk harvesting. 

2. Hot water for washing and sanitation (which is typically the highest energy load), and  If the site has surplus hot water, 

3. Milk cooling by our adsorption chiller, as a trigeneration project. 

The CHP is a complete heat, power and even cooling package for your dairy farm. We have packed this total solution into a 20 foot shipping container for a rapid site installation.

This is how you can realistically obtain strong energy savings.

What sizes are available?

CHP Cogeneration is a strong fit for a diary farm. Inoplex designs and manufactures CHP units ranging from 10 KW to 60 KW for dairy farmers – larger units up to 360 KW available upon request. The design and manufacture is here in Australia.

Dairy Australian 500 to 600 head farms typically use 20 to 66 KW CHPs. But every farm is different, especially the refrigeration system that uses a lot of the power.

What size CHP do I need?

Dairy farms typically use an average of 48 KW.hrs per KL of milk produced according to Dairying for Tomorrow. This is a benchmark for you may choose to consider.

The three main activities account for 80% of dairy farm energy usage:

32% Hot Water for washing and sanitation.

29% Chilling the milk to less than 5 C in 3.5 hours according to Food Standards Australia using pre-cooling and a refrigeration system.

17% Milking harvesting.

So, with the hot water heating provided by the CHP, your farms power demand is automatically reduced by 32%. This is a good first step.

Next step, ask your power retailer for a copy of your site’s 15 minute interval NMI power meter data. This will show you how much power you use throughout the day. Please send this along with a copy of your power bill to the Inoplex sales engineers for assessment.

Inoplex sales engineers provide a free, obligation free assessment of your farms potential to half its energy costs.

While a CHP Generator can be fuelled by a combination of diesel, biodiesel, LPG or natural gas, a sustainable and lower cost fuel is biogas or biomass.

Inoplex CHP Inverter generators also supply a consistent source of back up power, as well as an alternative to grid power. This provides power security for your business.

Want to lower the energy bills in your dairy farm?

Here is our formula:
1. Install a variable speed CHP to produce your farm’s heat and power requirements.
2. Install an adsorption chiller to produce more to the cooling you need.
3. Convert your effluent treatment to an anaerobic digester to produce the fuel for the CHP and reduce your environmental impact if your farm collects sufficient manure.
4. Add biomass (wood chips) gasification as the fuel supply for your CHP if you have insufficient biogas from the farms effluent.

Inoplex are the experts at getting the most out of your energy requirements. Whether you need electricity, heating or even cooling, we can help develop a solution for you.

Waste to energy solutions

Cogeneration systems capture the large portion of wasted thermal energy (around 60%) generated in power production so it can be utilised throughout the dairy process for things like space heating, water heating, or steam. This process increases the overall efficiency of the power plant to around 80 to 90%.

The Inoplex cogen generator system uses power electronics to provide clean, consistent energy when you need it. Inverter technology converts the electricity from our cogenerators to the type of electricity you need, whether it’s for machinery, pumps, refrigeration or electronic monitoring equipment.

Many farms utilise biogas generated from manure and effluent, however, there is a huge range of biogas generation options including straw, meant, organic waste, rubbish, etc. Inoplex cogenerators can run using biogas from any of these options.

Benefits of cogen for dairies

Congeneration and utilising the biogas produced on the farm to generate electricity is fairly new to the dairy industry. Inoplex CHP systems present a unique energy efficient solution for dairies using energy technology to reduce power costs in the long term.

Benefits include:

  • Reducing solid waste – often by around 50 to 80% which reduces costs involved in removal.
  • Supporting your local community – keeping your money in the local economy
  • Easily and inexpensively source replacement parts – Inoplex Cogen plant utilises motors and parts which are often readily available in rural areas.
  • Odour reduction – breaks down organic matter to biogas and destroys other odour producing gasses such as hydrogen sulphide during combustion.
  • Utilise heat from the cogenerator for heat water for cleaning or a huge range of other uses.
  • Customise the system for your waste requirements
  • Environmentally friendly – prevents harmful greenhouse gasses from being released into the environment.
  • Reliable power – remove reliance on grid electricity
  • Using biogas for combined heat and power reduces the payback period of the system set up significantly.

Other cogen fuel options

Farmers who are being hit by increasing power costs and an unreliable grid system which threatens to cripple many diaries are seeking alternative options. With some blackouts interrupting the power supply for hours halting milking and affecting cows health, efficient replacement or auxiliary power sources are becoming a necessity.

Consider the power generation alternatives

Diesel generators

Diesel generators offer a viable initial investment, however, fuel costs can cut into the margins, meaning some systems can cost more to run than grid power. 

Consider this scenario – a dairy farm uses a diesel generator to produce power for milking.

1L of diesel at $1.40 produces power in a good generator at 36 cents per kW/hr. With grid power at 18 to 35 cents per kW/hr, a diesel-powered generator is running up to double the cost of grid electricity. Making this option a reliable but very expensive alternative. 

While diesel generator is economically a poor power supply option, they are often invaluable to keep the dairy operating when the grid power fails.

CHP cogenerator

Converting to a CHP (combined heat and power) cogenerator provides greatly improved economics. Recovering the heat from the engine can save on heating cost throughout the business. 

About half the energy in the diesel is converted to power and the other half is lost in heat. In the example above the diesel could cost 18 cents per kW/hr and the heat recovered cost 18 cents per kW/hr too. 

The total cost is the same but now the dairy farmer is extracting more value from it. 

Add to that the fact that the diesel generator could be powering an electric hot water system as well, then the diesel use will drop by half as now the heating is being provided by otherwise wasted heat.

LPG generator

Adding CHP to a dairy farm can make a massive difference to energy costs, even when using old generators.

While old diesel generators are easily available and offer a lower initial purchase cost, LPG provides a lower cost fuel. Plus, many farms have an existing LPG storage tank.

1L of LPG at 59 cents in an inverter CHP generator it will produce power at 20 cents per kW/hr or 10 cents per kW/hr for power and 10 cents per kW/hr for heat or hot water heating. 

This option provides the dairy with power security and a lower cost of energy. Win-win.

If you’re looking for reliable, low cost power at for use anytime then an LPG fuelled Inoplex CHP cogenerator is the answer. Fueling this cogenerator with biogas too, as a dual fuel engine, will lower energy costs even further.

If you are considering your dairy farm’s refrigeration system, please read our trigeneration for dairy farm page. This will provide you with power for milking, hot water for washing and cooling for your milk. It’s a complete package.

Cogen power for dairies

Looking for a practical, energy efficient biomass power generation system for your diary? Speak to our experienced team about an Inoplex cogenerator on 0448 307 282or complete our enquiry form today.