Potato Council guide helps growers improve efficiency to cut energy costs

Potato Council has released a guide to help growers with energy costs.

Named Improving Energy Efficiency in Potato Stores, the six-page guide gives practical advice to growers and store managers on what energy-monitoring equipment to install and how to use it.

Potato Council's knowledge transfer manager Dr Rob Clayton, speaking at the launch of the initiative at last week's Potato Storage Day near Lincoln, said: "Climate change is an immeasurable challenge for the potato industry and energy use lies at its heart.

"We're breaking down this challenge into manageable chunks and identifying specifically where growers can save money."

Tips on different approaches are balanced with case studies based on a Potato Council-funded energy-monitoring project carried out by farm energy expert FEC Services.

More tips on how to save energy are being included in a new web-based hub, www.potato.org.uk/energy, that acts both as a library of related information and an interactive forum for commentary, experiences and queries.

Results from the energy-monitoring programme will be posted and discussed on the site throughout the storage season to help growers benchmark their own costs.

FEC technical director Tim Pratt said: "First, use the guide to establish how to monitor energy usage: we estimate that step alone will save, on average, £360 per year for a 1,000-tonne store. Next, use the hub to help you make sense of the figures and identify what your big energy users are and make even bigger savings."

Initial findings from a project to investigate the effectiveness of ground-source heat pumps, funded by Warwick HRI, Potato Council and HDC, will also be fed into the hub.

Additional resources to help save on diesel use and other carbon efficiencies will be developed in conjunction with other sectors.

- Potato Council has also launched a revised and updated Store Manager's Guide. Each section has been refreshed with the latest Potato Council-funded research and industry knowledge. For more information, see www.potato.org.uk/publications.

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