Mechanical & Plumbing
Newly rennovated Somerston Winery becomes first winery with integrated CO2 heating and cooling system
April 5, 2011
Somerston Wine Co., producer of Highflyer, Priest Ranch and Somerston wines, has announced the completion of its energy-efficient winery, which it claims features the first ever integrated CO2 heating and cooling system to be implemented in a winery. The winery occupies a renovated 12,000-sf barn situated in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley on Somerston’s 1,682-acre ranch, and was designed to be functional, practical and energy-efficient, it said. The winery has also announced that its operations will eventually expand to include a neighbouring structure with solar panels, with the goal of having a winery that is 100 percent off-the-grid.
“Somerston’s guiding mission is to operate systemically as a sustainable, efficient, and land-focused project,” said Craig Becker, part-owner, general manager and winemaker at Somerston Wine Co. “While plenty of producers build efficiently, they rarely operate efficiently. Similarly, there is no shortage of sustainable wineries and vineyards that fall short of the goal of being enviromentally-friendly. Every element of the Somerston winery has a purpose, and the energy savings will pay for the system’s additional cost within three years.”
“The components represent cutting-edge technology used only by a handful of companies in the world, and [we are] the first to integrate the components into a complete system,” said Somerston.
The integrated CO2 refrigerant heating and cooling system is comprised of four elements: a CO2 refrigerant heat pump, a hybrid adiabatic fluid cooler that replaces the traditional cooling tower, a glycol warming system for tank and barrel room heating and a high efficiency glycol chiller for additional tank and barrel room cooling.
According to Somerston, the CO2 heat pump system operates with zero emissions of hazardous refrigerants while also achieving a vastly higher coefficient of performance to traditional propane-based hot water boilers and standard refrigerant heat pumps. “Where a standard propane-based hot water boiler is about 80 percent efficient, Somerston’s CO2 heat pump is 300 to 400 percent efficient while performing heating and cooling functions at the same time,” it explained. “Somerston’s CO2 refrigerant heat pump can achieve 194 degree Fahrenheit hot water temperatures, far outperforming standard winery refrigerant heat pumps which only achieve 160 degrees Fahrenheit at best.”
About the CO2 Refrigerant Heat Pump System
The first component, a Mayekawa Eco Cute electric-driven hot water heat pump, uses CO2 as a refrigerant for glycol cooling and hot water heating all in the same unit. It is more efficient than a standard hot water boiler due to its ability to heat and cool simultaneously, and because of its closed cycle, there are zero hazardous emissions. By using CO2 instead of freon refrigerants, Somerston has said its system results in a lower carbon footprint and dramatically lower ozone depletion. The CO2 refrigerant heat pump makes its U.S. debut at the Somerston winery and is backed with a proven record of effectiveness in Japan and Europe, it said.
The second component is the hybrid adiabatic fluid cooler, which replaces the traditional winery cooling tower. While traditional towers require large amounts of water and are costly to maintain, the fluid cooler acts as an air cooler during temperate months and a wet cooler during hotter months. Somerston claims to be the first winery in the U.S. to utilize this technology.
The high efficiency glycol chiller and glycol warmer, custom-built by NovusTherm Corporation, is the final component of the system and is used for tank and barrel room cooling. It uses the CO2 heat pump as an integrated component to indirectly warm glycol with a special safety plate heat exchanger and directly cool glycol resulting in “dramatically lower energy requirements than traditional systems.”