New Potato Storage Facility Prototype Gets Trialed in the US
Gary Jones Constructions – a U.S.-based company known for its potato cellars – has built a prototype called the ExactAir potato cellar, reports Idaho Statesman. There are only two of the kind in America.
The ExactAir design is about 60% more energy-efficient than a traditional cellar and is said to do a better job circulating air as well. The building is a joint effort between Gary Jones Construction and Double L, both of which are based in Mini-Cassia.
Most potato cellars have a set of fans at one end, then blast that air down the entire length of the cellar, some 400 ft. The cellar has sets of fans along its sides and circulates air in sections. That means each set of fans only has to blow air across 60 feet.
The cellar in Jerome County, which began operating in October, is 120 feet / 36.57 m wide by 270 / 82.29 m feet long. Inside it features two long, thin pools of potatoes 19 feet / 5.79 m deep. The improved circulation isn’t merely a result of more fans. The floor has holes in it, too, so instead of relying on corrugated pipes that run through the potato piles. The entire system is run by a computerized monitoring system. Farmers can make adjustments to humidity and temperature from their phones.
ExactAir was created after Lamb Weston approached Jones wanting to know “How can we do potato storage differently?”. To answer the question, specialists from Gary Jones Construction went to Europe and discovered that across the pond, farmers spend more money upfront to get a longer-lasting, energy-efficient potato cellar. So they borrowed the European concepts for the design of ExactAir.
While the new type of cellar is more expensive, it costs roughly USD1 to USD1.25 more per sack, the benefits are real, according to Gary Jones Construction.