Blakemans cuts coldstore energy use by 77%

Glasgow, UK: Blakemans has cut energy use at its cold store in Newcastle Under Lyme by switching from synthetic refrigerant R404A to ammonia.

Blakemans, a sausage and meat product producer, has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 55% by 2025.

Star Refrigeration handled the transition to natural cooling solutions at the Blakemans’ coldstore replacing multiple HFC refrigeration systems serving two frozen food coldstores. 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 carried out the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of an Azanefreezer 2.0. The low charge ammonia system which has a global warming potential of zero 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, 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.

Star’s Azanefreezer 2.0 low charge ammonia system led to a 77.3% reduction in Blakemans energy consumption

“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 design, which uses a low-pressure receiver and four evaporators, each of which is equipped with reverse cycle defrost technology.

In keeping with its 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 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 engineering team carried out decommissioning and disposal of all existing equipment, while maintaining temperature continuity and ensuring 24/7 operation in both cold stores.

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