ATS Group transformed a warehouse for Verbeken Transport in Dendermonde into a warm room where beer can referment in the bottle. ATS was responsible for the technology and automation that flawlessly controls the seventeen heat pumps for a stable climate. The entire installation runs on green electricity.
Verbeken has its own wind turbine with a capacity of 4,000 MWh per year. This investment not only enables Verbeken to absorb its own consumption, but also to put the remaining energy at the service of its customers. Van Goethem: "Last year in September, Bosteels Brewery came knocking on our door. They were looking for a reliable partner to take care of the storage of Tripel Karmeliet. Tripel Karmeliet must be able to referment in the bottle immediately after bottling. The beer must be kept at a constant temperature of 25°C for a period of three to five weeks. Furthermore, humidity must be kept to a minimum so that the labels on the bottles are not damaged."
Warm room on green energy
Verbeken Transport had both a warehouse with space for 2,500 pallet spaces and green energy. To turn that 3,600-square-meter area into a warm room that reliably guards the customer's conditions, they chose ATS Group. Van Goethem: "The partners who can achieve such a feat are thin on the ground. By choosing ATS, we chose the proposal that offered the most integral and reliable solution." It became an interplay between the Technics and Smart Building Solutions divisions that succeeded in realizing the hot room in eight weeks. The solution consisted of seventeen identical heat pumps, each with a capacity of 25 kW that can heat in winter and cool in summer. Dany Merckx, ATS Technics project manager, explains where the challenges were: "The pallets are stacked three high. It is important that the heat reaches every bottle equally well. However, due to the ceiling height of 8.5 m, it was technically complex to obtain the same temperature across all air layers."
Seventeen heat pumps for cooling, heating and dehumidification
For good energy efficiency, the basics had to be right. Van Goethem: "The hall was divided into two parts. The hot room on the one hand and a cold storage area on the other where the pallets then wait for further transport. The ventilation openings were closed, there was a new concrete floor, 8 cm of floor insulation and roof insulation." Then it was up to ATS Technics. "The dimensioning of the heat pumps that also take care of dehumidification was done in close consultation with Bosteels so that we had the right threshold values in mind. We chose air-to-air heat pumps because they perform well under varying conditions, are located outside on the roof and do not require additional investments." In addition, fans came into the warehouse. "They ensure that every 10 minutes all the air in the room is circulated. We kept the existing natural gas boiler to create a hybrid way of working. This allows Verbeken to always choose the most economically and ecologically profitable solution," Merckx summarizes.
Automatically regulated in Priva
The next task was to provide enough control points, so that the monitoring of temperature and humidity could be automated. A total of 121 measurement points were provided for temperature, spread over three air layers, and two measurement points for humidity. All the data are brought together in the Priva building management system, which can then control the heat pumps individually via Modbus or switch on the natural gas system if necessary. For this, ATS Technics was able to count on the support of ATS Smart Building Solutions. Account Manager Juan Meulenberg: "The demo convinced Verbeken immediately. After all, they get a very user-friendly view of how their installation is performing with all the possibilities for reporting or historical trend analysis. In this case, an important plus, because this way they can offer Bosteels the necessary guarantees about the stability of temperature and humidity. Furthermore, we have programmed the necessary alarms in consultation, when control technical intervention is required, so that it becomes child's play for them to manage the installation."
Flexibility and speed of work
Van Goethem is particularly impressed with the work done. "What the team from ATS has put down within a very short time frame is to be seen. In mid-December we were actually already doing trial runs. Everyone really did a double-take to complete this difficult job to perfection. And with results, because we haven't had any problems since the start-up." So a successful collaboration that, as far as Van Goethem is concerned, tastes like more. "There is still room on the site to set up a similar hot room for other clients. With everything we have learned from this project, we believe we can get even better energy efficiency. We also want to learn from the data we are now capturing and logging in Priva. And maybe with the installation of a battery we can further optimize the injection of the residual flow." Plenty of food for thought, then. Perhaps over a fresh Carmelite?