The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) has released a tool for wineries seeking to cut costs and improve their refrigeration and energy usage.
The AWRI Refrigeration Demand Calculator is a spreadsheet-based software tool to analyse and manage winery refrigeration demand.
Peter Godden, the AWRI industry engagement manager based in Adelaide, South Australia, said the need for such a tool was first identified and developed by Dr Richard Muhlack in 2012 as part of the AWRI’s Riverina Regional Node key priorities.
“It was also clear from the start that Riverina wineries aren’t alone in the need to improve the financial bottom lines or in seeking ways to improve refrigeration costs and energy use,” he said. “So while the project was initiated from a regional priority its much broader application for the whole industry was evident from the beginning.”
Godden said the calculator allows wineries to enter in a range of production data and grape intake to simulate refrigeration demand across their entire production cycle.
“Users are also able to assess the effect of factors such as cellar storage, cold stabilisation temperatures, fermentation conditions, climate, brine temperature, tank size and insulation on their refrigeration demand and energy costs,” he said.
Three wineries in the Riverina and three in Hunter Valley, through the AWRI’s regional nodes, helped the AWRI team to validate and test the calculator.
“When we first started to test the calculator only one of the six wineries actually had a dedicated power meter in their winery to record electricity usage and peak demand times,” he said.
“Not knowing your electricity or refrigeration usage often means you can’t fully identify problems or the areas where easy efficiencies can be found.”
He said the tool will also allow wineries to have the data to take advantage of other resources and best practice advice developed by the AWRI.
“We’d like to see the software platform improved so it can be used on a web-based platform and integrated with the full range of current mobile devices,” he said.
The AWRI Refrigeration Demand Calculator is funded by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority and can be downloaded from the AWRI website at: www.awri.com.au