Potato and onion bulk storage, forced floor ventilation
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Bulk storage, with controlled floor ventilation, is probably the most used storage system for onions, potatoes, grains, or any other firm bulk crops.

Bulk storage for onions and potatoes

Bulk storage is especially suitable for storing potatoes or onions (see our warnings regarding: onion storage) in large quantities. Pressure ventilation through a grooved floor is optimal, because of its homogeneity. In addition, by combining this ventilation with cooling, heating and humidification systems, any climatic situation can be achieved in order to properly dry, cure (potatoes) and store potatoes and onions.

Bulk storage onions

Onions can be bulk stored in piles with a height of up to four metres. The height depends on the firmness of the onions. The air enters through the grooves in the floor, before filtering through the mass of onions.

Ventilation systems for bulk storage

At the back of the warehouse are the ventilation turbines. These turbines force the air into the pressure chamber, which is situated below the turbines.

Pressure room for bulk storage ventilation

The function of the pressure chamber is to equalise the air pressure, so that all parts of the store receive the same amount of ventilation. The air exits the pressure chamber at the bottom left, and flows under the slotted warehouse floor.

Metal ventilation ducts for a potato or onion bulk storage

This bulk storage system uses slotted half-round metal ducts, which are placed on the floor. The air exits through the perforations of the channels or metal ducts. Once the storage facility is full, the end of the ducts have to be closed.

How does a bulk storage system work?

The air is sucked in through the entrance hatches. The air then passes through the turbines and its no-return valves, entering the pressure chamber. In the pressure chamber, the pressure is equalised, and flows into the ducts below the slotted storage floor. The air passes through the produce, and then leaves the storage through the exit hatches.

The no-return valves are needed in case one of the turbines stops functioning, otherwise the pressurised air would return through the non-functioning turbine.

And of course this system can ventilate with 100% external air, 100% internal air or any required mixture of external and internal air, depending on the position. The entrance and exit hatches are fully managed by the Mutiserver (the brain of the system).

If this system has heaters, evaporators (the cooling part of a cooling system) and a humidification system installed, all managed by a Multiserver, then the drying, curing and storing conditions required for potatoes, onions or any other bulk produce can be met completely.

Below is a schematic drawing of a bulk Storage System for onions or potatoes.

A bulk storage system and its main components
A bulk storage system and its main components

To see more details regarding the major components of a storage system, like: sensors, Multiserver (the brain of the system), boxes to be used etc., please go to: Components of a computerized storage facility.

Requirements for proper operation

Produce suitable for bulk storage

These bulk storage facilities can been ventilated in three different ways::

1. Through a slotted floor.

Advantage: It is the best way to distribute the air.
Disadvantage: Requires a significant investment in civil work.

3. Through metallic ducts on the smooth floor.

Advantage 1: When there is no harvest to keep, the storage facility can be used for other needs, since the metallic ducts can be collected and stacked in a corner.
Advantage 2: A smaller investment in civil works.

2. Channels under the floor.

Advantage: Does not require such a large investment in civil works.
Disadvantage: Air distribution will not always be optimal.

Animation of an onion or potato bulk storage system

The advantages of the system:

  • Full control of the climate inside the storage facility
  • Potatoes and onions, suitable for storage, can be stored for many months on end
  • Little maintenance

The disadvantages of the system:

  • A bulk storage system requires a considerable investment in the warehouse itself and in the equipment necessary to fill and empty the storage facility
Filling a 10.000 ton potato bulk storage

Filling a 10,000 tonne potato bulk storage facility that uses floor ventilation (slotted floor)

This system forces ventilated air through the produce, making it ideal for drying, curing and storing of onions and potatoes.

If the system is properly equipped, the climate within the storage facility can be controlled completely. Which means: any crop that is suitable for bulk storage can be maintained at the right temperature, and the right relative humidity.

Additionally, CO2 levels can be monitored, and excess CO2 will be automatically eliminated. All of these functions are executed by a central computer, called the Multiserver.


To mechanise your post harvest processes:
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