Reduce energy in your cold storage facility

Southern Cold Storage WINS at reducing operating costs!

Southern Cold Storage in Wadeville Johannesburg has been running now for almost two years.  The brief given to the contractor / owner technical design team comprising of engineers from Lutz Refrigeration on the coldroom design and Barpro Storage on the materials handling and racking to provide the most Capex and Opex efficient freezer storage facility.  This enables Southern Cold Storage to rent out pallet space within the store to clients with the least business start-up cost while paying the minimum on running costs. The iterative design involved revenue modelling play offs against start up costs with this design eventually being settled upon.


The basic layout was determined by the land available with a view to storing as many pallets as possible in the available envelope thereby optimising rental revenue.  To achieve this, Barpro mobile racks were used wherever possible with a small contingent of stationery racks to allow for some flexibility with picking being allowed for if required.  The end result is that this facility can hold 3650 pallets within its roughly 25 000 Cubic metre volume.


A few of the innovations employed to reduce running costs include:

  • 250 kW water cooled multiplex refrigeration plant
  • Cooling tower fans, variable speed driven.
  • Stepper type electronic expansion valves to accurately control suction pressures and prevent liquid flood over under dangerous conditions.
  • The airlock leading to the freezer is dehumidified down to as low as 20% humidity via a Bry Air chemical dehumidifier.
  • All compressors have ABB soft starters to reduce peak kVA draw under startup.
  • Power factor correction system
  • Solar panels on the roof providing up to 70% of instantaneous power usage


Multiplex plant with evaporative cooling tower - Installed
Multiplex plant with evaporative cooling tower


All of the above mechanical and electrical innovations certainly help to reduce running costs on the facility considerably as made evident by Uwe Schmidthaus the owner/manager at the facility who compares this facility with his other business Cool Runners which distributes various frozen products in Johannesburg.  Cool Runners has a storage capacity with static racking of 950 pallets in comparison with Southern’s mobile racking approach holding 3 650 pallets.


Uwe points out that in February 2017 Southern Cold Storage only used 80 000 kW-hr in comparison with Cool Runners using roughly 75 000 kW-hr in the same month, making Southern 3.6 times more energy efficient per pallet. This gives Southern Cold Storage a great competitive edge as electrical tariffs keep on climbing.


For more information on reducing energy in your cold storage facility contact

Kevin Walter on 011 474 2022 or 083 564 2384

Lutz Refrigeration


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