After months of hard work from the teams at PRO Refrigeration and San Joaquin Valley Dairy Equipment (SJVDE), South Creek Dairy in Earlmart, California, is now producing milk with the climate in mind. The project culminated with the commissioning of a PROGreen Solutions 100-hp chiller system that replaces chemical-based refrigerant with a natural CO2-based solution.

“Field commissioning always starts off with a group training session, even with many of the same technicians previously involved in the first CO2 project. The group training allowed everyone the chance to get their questions answered and set the stage for a smooth commissioning,” said Damon Reed, leader of the PROGreen Solutions team.

South Creek Dairy’s owner, Christopher Jongsma, traveled with his grandfather to PRO’s production facility in Mocksville, North Carolina, where Reed introduced them to transcritical and subcritical CO2 (R-744) refrigeration and provided hands-on equipment training that included safety training. Jongsma also made several visits to his Uncle Bill’s farm in Pixley, California, where the first PROGreen system was recently installed.

“Damon and I talked about the value of the training sessions (in North Carolina) many times,” said Jongsma. “To be involved as an owner and have an understanding of how the system operates and the fine-tuning, it has been a great experience.”

The first phase of the installation included switching from their old chiller system to the new R-744-based system. They closed out the first three milking sessions with over 3,900 cows milked per session, with final milk temperatures of 37.5°F.

The second phase included setting up the PROHeat2o onboard heat recovery system. The teams worked together on an updated hot water piping strategy, which can heat water to 170°F without using any propane or natural gas.

“We owe a big thanks to both the Jongsma Family and the team at San Joaquin Valley Dairy Equipment for stepping up and partnering on these initial projects,” said Jim VanderGiessen, CEO of PRO Refrigeration. “They are helping us prove that CO2, or R-744, is a real solution that dairy producers need to consider today.”

Ben Anders, installation manager for SJVDE, stated “the installation and startup of this chiller system went very smoothly. Really, there were no major obstacles to overcome and overall, it went extremely well.”

All indications are that the dairy producers also see the value. After Anders’ team completes the South Creek Project, they will shift their focus towards two more scheduled PROGreen projects in the San Joaquin Valley region.