08 Mar 2016
by Samantha Scantlebury

POSTED IN grain storage
POSTED IN Energy costs
POSTED IN Grain management
POSTED IN grain bin fan energy cost
POSTED IN Grain Drying
POSTED IN Controlled Drying



We at IntelliFarms often talk to our customers about the many financial benefits of a good on-farm storage strategy. We've been helping farms for close to 10 years find ways to get more value from their grain with smart storage. One thing that we constantly hear from our customers is the energy cost savings they've had as a result of having our technologies like BinManager control the natural air drying process of their bins.

In a controlled drying strategy, only "productive" air is pushed through the grain mass. This air falls within a certain range that does not over-wet or over-dry the grain. This is because the actual temperature and moisture of the grain inside the bin is known. Controlled drying is natural air drying, so to be effective, it also depends upon having the appropriate amount of cfm and making sure that the bin itself (dimensions and grain depth) is set up for good airflow. You also should take into account the unique EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) characteristics of the grain, in order to ensure the air being pushed through is effectively going to absorb moisture from the grain, and move the moisture fronts upward and out of the grain mass.

The image below illustrates the difference between a controlled and uncontrolled drying strategy. With uncontrolled drying (red line), the fans were running constantly. You can see that as a result, fans often pushed in air that was counterproductive for the drying process. There were several times when the grain was re-wet due to higher humidity air being pushed through. In contrast, in the controlled drying scenario (blue line), fans only ran when the appropriate air was present.

Without grain bin automation solutions, even more fan run time must be used to counteract over drying

When grain is re-wet or over-dried as a result of fan "freewheeling," even more fan run time must be used counteract what was done and bring the grain back to its intended target. And more run time means more energy costs. 


The energy savings in using a controlled drying strategy can be substantial. The chart below compares uncontrolled drying and controlled drying scenarios and the energy costs of each. 

Uncontrolled fan run time costs add up without grain automation

It's important to note that every scenario varies based on geography/weather, your fan and heater set-up, harvest moisture and moisture goals.


To better understand the potential controlled drying with BinManager can have on your energy costs, contact an IntelliFarms representative who can walk you through scenarios. 

 IntelliFarms often hears stories from customers about how they've been able to save on energy through controlled drying with BinManager. Take a listen to our customer testimonials to hear more. 

Energy conservation and cost savings are important to us at IntelliFarms. And there are other financial benefits to it as well. Because of its energy conservation capabilities, BinManager is eligible for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant, which can add on other savings - even several thousand dollars. The grant is available to existing, working bins in which BinManager is an added-on investment. IntelliFarms' on-staff grant specialist can assist you with applying for the REAP grant and is available to discuss any questions.