Turkeys come home to roost

Norwegian poultry farm harvests unexpected benefits

Lying deep in Norway’s spectacular Hardangerfjord, around 50 km east of Bergen, the Homlagarden poultry farm is based in a former mill. Established in 1974, the business today raises several thousand late-breeding Red Jack chickens and black turkeys.

In 2014, the company established its own cold store. During the planning process, owners Bjørn Brynjolf Pedersen and Els Geelen were keen to find an environmentally friendly way of running it. After comparing the available options, they decided on a customised concept based on Star Cool refrigerated reefer containers.

Once the decision had been made, Bjørn and Els looked for appropriate expertise to implement it. This led them to Termo Senteret AS, Norway’s largest transport cooling workshop, who carried out the initial development, calculations and scoping. After their proposal had been approved, they then handled the smooth delivery and installation of the units themselves.

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Challenge convention and stay cool
Reefers are regularly used for overflow or emergency cooling operations on land, but it is unusual to see them employed on a permanent basis. Nevertheless, the concept makes excellent commercial and environmental sense. The farm’s original cold store concept involved six Star Cool reefers in two separate rooms: two units for the fast initial freeze at a set point of -30 degrees Celsius and four handling longer-term storage at -22 degrees.

If the system works, build on it
This system worked so well that the farm doubled its capacity, as Els Geelen explained: “We quickly added further Star Cool reefers in a cold room and sited four more in the slaughterhouse in 2018. A year later, we purchased yet another unit to handle carcass waste. That means we now have a total of 12 Star Cool units in operation on the farm.”

As they knew that their cold store was going to be generating a lot of hot water as a by-product of the cooling process, the owners decided to use this to supply an under-floor heating system.

Permanent benefit loop
Accordingly, they designed a piping system that sends the waste heat to a 4,000-litre water tank. From there, it is fed into a pipe-based floor heating system. The result is that they are now able to heat the entire Homlagarden farm complex effectively for free.

The Homlagarden team are delighted with their Star Cool reefers. They knew from the start that they were the most energy-efficient and reliable cooling machines on the market. Five years later, they are now enjoying comfortable indoor temperatures at zero extra cost and without increasing the business’s environmental footprint. Eco poultry feeds eco heating.

We quickly added further Star Cool reefers in a cold room and sited four more in the slaughterhouse in 2018. A year later, we purchased yet another unit to handle carcass waste. That means we now have a total of 12 Star Cool units in operation on the farm.

Els Geelen, Homlagarden poultry farm