Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For 2017, GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.) will introduce an advanced heat reclaimer system that can significantly reduce energy costs – by up to 30 percent – in its tower dryers.

This first-of-its-kind patented technology separates the hot, dry air and returns it into the drying process again, while simultaneously taking the cold, wet air and debris and discarding it through the open bottom.

In three years of extensive testing at three sites, the heat reclaimer design was proven to reduce operating costs by nine percent to 30 percent, depending on the grain type and ambient temperature. The testing process used identical side-by-side GSI tower dryers at two large farms in Kentucky and Illinois, and at an agricultural co-op in Wisconsin. 

In addition to lowering energy use, the new design also addresses a drawback experienced with other heat reclaimer technologies. “The new system controls and minimizes debris build-up in the dryer and heat reclaim shroud experienced with previous heat reclaiming systems,” explains Jarod Wendt, Engineering Manager, Grain Conditioning for GSI. “This not only improves drying efficiency but also results in minimal cleaning required under the reclaim area.”

Wendt says other benefits include no effect on drying capacity, no difference in how the dryer is operated or how cool the grain is when discharged from the dryer. The heat reclaimer will be available as an optional feature in 12-, 18-, 24- and 30-foot diameters and can be easily retrofitted on older GSI tower dryers built since 2001.

“For many years, GSI tower dryers have been the leader in capacity, quality and efficiency,” Wendt says. “We’re excited to bring grain storage customers this latest advancement to help lower their energy costs and improve their bottom line.”

PERC Development Support

The GSI heat reclaimer was partially funded with a grant from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) as part of its ongoing commitment to work with equipment manufacturers to help the ag industry be as successful as possible through improved energy efficiency.

“Propane has several advantages and is a great fuel source for grain drying. As with all equipment developments, we want to be sure it provides a solution that is cost-effective as well as reliable,” says Cinch Munson, director of agriculture business development at PERC. “The fact that GSI has achieved these efficiency gains is very promising and demonstrates the quality and efficiency of new propane-powered equipment.”