Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Centre has six controlled environment stores. Here, Mitsubishi Electric controllers and fan drives are used to control the temperature, humidity and CO2 content.
Sensors are used throughout each store which feed back to a computer to build a 3D map of the atmosphere. This then sets the speed of fans to ensure target conditions are maintained. Ray Andrews of Crop Systems, which built the stores, explains they may need to gradually change the environmental conditions or introduce a cleaning-in-place mist, and minimise overall energy consumption throughout the process. With storage lasting for 6-12 months, a small daily energy saving will add up to cheaper vegetables for the consumer. The software works all this out automatically and ensure the crops come out of storage as fresh as they went in.
There are six storage cells, which provide a total of 42 units, to look at various storage and refrigeration techniques.