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Energy Efficiency in Food and Beverage Industry

21 February 2015

A mid-sized company in the meat industry could save annual carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to a mid-sized car travelling around the world 177 times according to estimates from measurement technology vendor Endress + Hauser.

Energy costs only account for an average two percent of revenues in the food industry.

But sustainable solutions to reduce energy consumption are essential for producers if they want to survive in the market over the long term.

"Energy efficiency plays a key role in this regard," said Prof Antonio Delgado from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

The professor sees the food industry in a particular area of conflict because "any measure taken to increase energy efficiency may neither be detrimental to food quality or food safety" - which means nothing else than many of the measures developed in other industries are not suitable.

Synergy Effects in the Heating Cycle

Dr Delgado sees one way to greater energy efficiency in the use of energetic interactions between the production process and infrastructure.

First and foremost, large savings potential results from the synergetic effects between heat generation and refrigeration.

How creative companies can become in this regard is demonstrated by Maggi in Singen.

The plant uses the waste heat from the nearby cupola furnace of a foundry.

The energy extracted from the exhaust gas is stored in a thermal oil and pumped through a conduit into Maggi's boiler house 200 metres away.

There, a complex system of heat exchangers and steam boilers ensures that pure steam is always available for production. 50,000 megawatt hours, about two-thirds of the steam required, generates heat recovery.

In this way, the company saves up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The fact that energy demand can be systematically reduced by intelligently combining existing facilities is also held true at Warsteiner.

The family brewery invests continuously to increase its efficiency while protecting the environment.

The loading hall's ventilation system has recently been upgraded to the latest state of the art technology.

The ventilation system ducts were improved, the supply air optimized, the control system retooled, ceiling fans were installed and several small heat recovery systems retrofitted.

As a result, these measures not only save valuable heating energy and improve air quality in the loading hall. But CO2 emissions are also lowered by 1,100 tons per year as a result.

Small Cause, Big Effect

As they take life cycle costs into account, those food manufacturers who are riding the "green technology wave" are taking a precise look at what they can save where and how.

It is often the little components that, in total, have a major impact on efficiency.

As in the case of sparkling wine producer Rotkäppchen.

Many sophisticated unique solutions used in production in Freyburg contribute to the efficiency of sparkling wine bottling: dynamic handling units for sealing the bottles, sturdy table top chains for bottle transport and efficient motors for the conveyor technology. Fifty mechatronic drive units from SEW €o Drive were installed in the bottling line.

They already meet Class IE4 energy efficiency requirements and save up to 50 percent energy compared to conventional drives. The corresponding frequency inverters at Rotkäppchen are housed in a central switch cabinet container. Its waste heat is used in winter to heat a storage area.

Energy Flows at a Glance

Optimisation tweaks are many.

Prior to any measure, the question first arises: Where do you start to achieve these kinds of savings?

To find out which savings potential lurks where, the actual state must be known.

The building blocks for energy optimisation are online-capable measuring devices that continuously record the energy flows for steam, compressed air, heat, cold, electricity, gas, oil and water.

A flowmeter optimised for energy circuits is, for example, able to detect leaks in compressed air networks.

This lets you detect critical aggregates or process steps and permanently maintain peak demand within tight tolerances.

Energy efficiency as an integral part of the automation - another way to tap savings potential. This proves once again: the greatest potential to conserve resources and reduce costs is the efficient use of the energy already available.

What savings potential can still be achieved in modern food production? Anuga FoodTec 2015 in Cologne 24-27 March will answer this question. Technologies and methods to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will be shown at the International Supplier Fair for the Food and Beverage Industry.

At Anuga FoodTec, interested parties can find a large bandwidth of proposed solutions for better use of energy.

February 2015

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