R-32 Chillers used for high-efficiency cooling and heating for world’s largest vertical farm

21 March 2024

Air-cooled scroll chillers operating on lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant R-32 are providing high-efficiency cooling and heating for the world’s largest vertical farm in the UK. The vertical farm, the size of seventy tennis courts, offers about 13,700 square metres of growing space for stacking crops 15 layers high, and is expected to supply 1,000 tonnes of fresh produce a year to UK supermarkets.

One of the key challenges was the requirement to achieve four different temperature and humidity set points. The compact air-cooled scroll chillers with refrigerant R-32, operate from -10°C up to +48°C, and have variable-speed pumps to reduce pumping energy consumption by up to two-thirds. The chillers have a heat recovery system that enables waste heat to be captured and used for various heating applications on site, saving energy while maintaining optimum growing conditions. The four chillers deliver a total of 2.2 megawatts of cooling and heating to the growing room. By October 2023 the entire growing area was fully planted, allowing the operator to harvest a tonne in weight of basil and leafy greens every 19 days.


Manufacturer’s information reported in Refrigeration Industry and ACR Journal.

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