Potato Cellar

Potato Cellar

 

a building or structure for storing potatoes. Potato storage facilities are subdivided into temporary facilities, which are pits and trenches filled with potatoes and covered over with earth and straw, and permanent facilities, including underground, semiunderground, and surface buildings, rectangular in shape with one story. In addition to storage, permanent facilities also permit presale processing (sorting and sizing) of food potatoes and sprouting of seed potatoes. Storage conditions are the most stable in the underground and semi-underground facilities, but such facilities cannot be built where the water table is within 2.5–3 m of the surface. Surface potato storage facilities are used in the southern USSR and in places where the water table is close to the surface. In rural storage facilities both food and fodder potatoes are stored by spreading them on the floor or in bins; in city facilities, containers are also used. Seed potatoes are stored in bins and sprouted in boxes or on racks. Potato storage facilities hold between 250 and 3, 000 tons.

The most convenient permanent storage facilities have a central corridor or driveway passage with bins and auxiliary rooms arranged along both sides. The outside walls of such facilities are usually made of brick, stone, concrete blocks, or reinforced concrete; they have an insulation layer (in areas with estimated winter temperatures of —20° C) and are banked around with dirt and planted with sod (for underground and semiunderground facilities). The inside supporting structures (columns, beams, girders, and roof slabs) are made of reinforced concrete or steel. The roof is usually combined (that is, without a loft) and has two or three layers of roofing felt; the floor may be asphalt concrete, concrete, wood, or dirt. The entries have gates with wickets; the doors are double, heat-insulated on the outside and latticed on the inside. Loading hatches are sometimes put in the walls of underground and semiunderground facilities. The bins are made of wood or reinforced concrete.

A system of active or general forced air ventilation is installed to take off surplus heat during the winter and to cool the potatoes in the autumn and spring. With active ventilation a given quantity of air (from 50 to 200 cu m per ton per hour) at a set temperature is passed through the mound of potatoes, which causes a rapid exchange of air within the mass of potatoes and creates optimal conditions for storage. In the northern regions recirculating heating devices consisting of ventilators and electric heaters are installed to warm the air; water and steam heaters are also used to warm the storage facilities. In the southern regions air coolers are added to the ventilation system. Automatic regulator systems ensure stable storage conditions.

Conveyors, hoists, loaders, pickers, and sorting stations are used to load and unload potatoes in the facilities; and flow lines, including grading, sorting, and packing machines and machines to wash and dry the potatoes, are used when potatoes are being shipped into the commercial network. Thus the labor-intensive jobs are completely mechanized.

REFERENCES

Metlitskii, L. V., and I. L. Volkind. Khranenie kartofelia v usloviiakh aktivnogo ventilirovaniia. Moscow, 1966.
Zdaniia i sooruzheniia dlia khraneniia kartofelia i ovoshchei: SNiP, part 2, sec. N, ch. 10. Moscow, 1966.
Normy tekhnologicheskogo proektirovaniia zdanii i sooruzhenii dlia khraneniia kartofelia i ovoschei, NTPSKh 6–65. Moscow, 1967.

I. L. VOLKIND

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