BITZER’s role in South Africa’s heat pump drying industry

Traditional food drying methods in the agricultural sectors are no long sufficient in South Africa’s growing economy. Sunlight, wood and fossil fuel burning, and electrical and diesel (used by 80% of South African farmers) engine heating have fallen out of favour for more energy efficient, eco-friendly alternatives. In addition to high CO2 emissions, traditionally dried food is subject to the elements, and contamination by animals and insects – ultimately resulting in poor food quality.

A primary need in South Africa is to keep up with developed countries in the industry. Heat pump drying (HPD) technology is therefore vital for South Africa’s ability to compete on the international export stage. HPD technology eliminates moisture and by doing so, food is protected from the growth of bacteria, yeast and mould – not spoiling as a result. HDP, hence, increases shelf life, reduces packaging costs, lowers shipping weights, enhances appearance and maintains flavour and nutrients.

But what is a heat pump and how does it work? “Heat pumps are heat-generating devices that transfer heat in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat flow by absorbing heat from an area of low temperature and releasing it to a warmer area.” A heat pump consists of an evaporator, condenser, compressor and an expansion valve. It receives heat and then delivers more heat than the work input to the compressor. The compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Although alternatives to heat pumps, such as direct electrical heaters and diesel engine burning, are cheaper, they become less economical and environmentally friendly when used for a period longer than 3 months (in some cases less).

When it comes to the compressor, BITZER’s range of high temperature heating compressors, such as the ECOLINE range, OCTAGON compressors and CSH range, are ideal for cost effective and energy efficient preservation of high-quality foodstuff. In addition, BITZER heat pumps with BITZER compressors emit about 40% less CO2. According to Vesa Tamminen, CEO of Calefa: “We chose compressors from BITZER because they have stood for high quality, reliability and good performance for decades, that builds confidence where the long service life of the compressors is absolutely vital for us.”

Because of BITZER’s impeccable quality and the low life cycle cost, our compressors add to the quality of heat pumps and its appeal as an alternative to traditional heat drying systems.

BITZER technology is internationally renowned for their energy efficiency, specifically at part load; their ability to operate economically with low GWP refrigerants; and their user friendliness.


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