Pig farmer Van de Wolfshaar: ‘Invest in a heat pump today’

Erwin van de Wolfshaar is a pig farmer in Vragender (Gelderland) and invested in heat recovery for all his company’s barns. For example, his new barn in Vragender, with 12,000 weaners, is completely gas-neutral. ‘Every day you don’t use a heat pump, you’re wasting money.’

Van de Wolfshaar invested in heat recovery for the barns at all three of his pig farming company’s locations. ‘Heat recovery is a very logical choice for me. The heat in the barns is there day and night, so you might as well make use of it.’

Heat pump provides 60% savings through heat recovery

The pig farmer met with Inno+, a company active in the field of air scrubbers and climate control technology. They supplied a system in which heat is extracted from the water heated by the air scrubbers. Through use of a heat exchanger and heat pump, this provides a less expensive way to heat water for the floor and section heating systems as well as for the fermentation, sow shower, and the farm’s homes.

Thanks to this simple system, Van de Wolfshaar has been able to cut his company’s heating costs by more than 60%. ‘The heat pump is simply very efficient. You hardly need gas anymore, because you’re using the heat that’s already there.’ The return on investment is also very short.

‘Given the current electricity prices and tax incentives, I expect it should take no more than three to four years to recoup our investment.’

Van de Wolfshaar therefore advises other business owners to invest in a heat pump during construction of new buildings. ‘I wouldn’t wait a single day. Every day that you don’t use heat recovery in the barns, you’re wasting money.’ Existing buildings require a little more work, because there has to be room for the heat pump installation. Nevertheless, Van de Wolfshaar has also added the system to older barns. ‘It’s a solid investment even when added to an existing pig barn.’

Heat pump and heat recovery in the barns for a positive image

In addition to the cost aspect, Van de Wolfshaar believes a positive image is also important. ‘It’s a plus when you can say you’re completely gas-neutral. We recently had a visit from members of the municipal council, and the politicians love to see this kind of innovation. So, it’s also beneficial in terms of image for the entire region.