Will Hawkins, Heat Pumps Today editor, visits a warehouse in the North East for an exclusive insight on how NIBE ground source heat pumps keep steel at the right humidity.
When you have to keep £15 million worth of steel at the right humidity for a nearby car plant, you need to think carefully about how you do it. Get it wrong and all that steel attracts condensation and becomes unusable.
That is exactly the challenge faced by the logistics firm AV Dawson in Middlesbrough. Their customer, TATA Steel, has an exacting client, namely Nissan, the car maker. Nissan needs steel to arrive in perfect condition to be able to use it.
In fact, the steel has to be stored in conditions that have 65% humidity or less in the atmosphere. AV Dawson has other warehouses on its sites next to its quays on the River Tees. The company stores and handles a wide range of goods in warehouses that, typically, have 85% humidity in them.
TATA needed a new low energy solution for keeping steel in good condition near to its customer. Working with their long-term supplier, AV Dawson, they built a new warehouse near to the quay. It covers the area of about three football pitches or about 130,000 m3.
However, they needed a solution that would keep the warehouse at the right humidity at the same time as maintaining low energy costs.
Which renewable heating solution?
The heat pumps feed 500 litre hot water buffer tanks. Each unit has electric back up. The AHU’s contain heat exchangers, and louvres control the airflow. Each system can either recycle internal air, or take it from outside, depending on the local weather conditions.
Solar panels on the roof provide 220 kWh for the heat pumps, lighting, doors and cranes. There is a generator outside as an emergency back-up.
Neil McShane, facilities manager at AV Dawson, explained how well the project worked:
Impact beyond the solution
The warehouse is impressive. It is huge. Howard Tribick’s NIBE ground source heat pump solution is remarkable too. It is a showcase for how forward thinking businesses are using heat pumps to control and lower their energy costs in the UK. And, their impact goes beyond mere costs. In this case, they are having a wider, positive business impact on the customers too.