On-farm energy consumption is a significant consideration for meat chicken growers in Australia. With rising energy prices, the need to invest in new technologies and methods to reduce power consumption is paramount.
Research has shown that one of the largest expenses for meat chicken growers is the electricity consumed by exhaust fans on mechanically ventilated sheds. Minimising power usage and reducing energy costs is a priority. One energy saving technology that has recently become available to the chicken meat industry is direct-drive, variable-speed fans. These operate at slower rotational speeds during times of low ventilation requirement, and at those times use less power than conventional belt-driven, single-speed fans.
This study investigates the potential energy savings that may be achieved with variable speed fans. Combining fan performance data with real-world fan activity data revealed that fans only needed to be operated at maximum speed for a small fraction of the time, with the majority of the year being operated at reduced speeds. This results in substantial energy saving for sheds fitted with variable-speed fans. This research also demonstrated that there are benefits in having more variable-speed fans installed on a shed because it results in lower overall power consumption.