Pigs heating their own houses? This is not a story about pigs flying!

15 October 2018Time: 2 minutes


Did you know that when a pig eats one kilo of food, 40% is converted into growth and weight, and 60% goes into heat? It works the same way in people. It’s a waste, really, all that energy disappearing into thin air. We came in contact with Inno+, a supplier that develops energy concepts with heat pumps that bring animal heat back to the house. Our piglet pens are now heated by the body heat of the animals themselves. Marvelous, isn’t it?

 


Wondering what manner of things you can heat with animal heat?

Inno + employee Mischa Hermkens explains how they came up with the idea of ??the heat pump concept. “We have been supplying air washing systems for intensive livestock farming for some time. They remove nitrogen, particulate matter and odour from the air in the house, but animal heat is also removed in the process. This ventilated air is about 18 to 20 degrees. It is such a shame to let that unused energy go to waste in the outside air! We started to think about how we might be able to reuse it. Hence the development of various energy concepts, which include heating incoming air with heat from the animals. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, the air that enters the house is always at least 10 degrees.”

 

Heated water beds and a hot shower

Inno+ now uses the heat pumps to heat, among other things, the heating water that is used for the Vereijken waterbeds in the piglet nests. But that’s not all. Heat is also reused to heat the food and the house in general–even the staff showers are comfortably warm thanks to this method.

 

Energy savings and other benefits

You can probably guess the advantages. For starters, a lot less energy is used. Animal heat heats three quarters of the house and the rest is collected by the power grid, so you can save about 60% on the energy bill. Another added advantage is that the animals do not need any extra feed to produce heat, and the climate in the house is always pleasant. Employees and animals both reap the benefits. Thanks to the improved quality of the house air, the pigs are healthier. Moisture in the house is no longer a problem.

Interest from Australia and Canada

According to a calculation by Inno+, a pig farmer with five hundred sows would earn his investment back within three to five years. It’s hardly surprising then, that there is already interest from abroad in this way of house heating. The first heat pumps in Australia (see picture) have already been installed at a company with five hundred farrowing sows. Pump installation in Canadian farms is about to get under way.

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