Early life nutrition
Harnessing the heat: FrieslandCampina Ingredients and Atlas Copco team up to develop energy-saving heat recovery system concept
Energy is a hugely important part of all of our lives. It gives us light, heat and power. But did you know that a significant proportion on the energy we produce is wasted through inefficiencies? In the U.S alone, it’s estimated that around 68% of all energy produced is wasted.
World Economic Forum, This chart shows just how much energy the US is wasting, 2018
At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we’re constantly seeking ways to minimise our environmental impact — for now and generations to come. And that’s why we’ve partnered with Atlas Copco to develop an innovative heat recovery system concept that will help us recover and re-use lost energy in our factories.
Keep reading to learn more about this innovative project.
Solutions for spray drying
To create our many powder-based ingredients, we use a specialist spray drying process that dries liquids with hot air. This process is also used across FrieslandCampina for our specialised nutrition and food & beverage solutions. And while this process helps us to create a wide range of nutritious ingredients in accessible formats, it’s one of the most energy intensive processes in our factories. On top of this, a lot of energy is lost in the process of heating and cooling. This is a challenge we’re committed to overcoming – not only to improve the efficiencies in our factories, but also to minimise the environmental impact of our processes.
At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, collaboration is in our DNA – which is why we work with partners to accelerate innovation in the dairy industry. Together with Atlas Copco – a leading provider of compressed air and vacuum solutions, energy solutions, pumps, power tools and assembly solutions – we’ve created a unique heat recovery system concept that could save an impressive >60% of energy used in the spray drying process. This cooperation was sparked during a meeting of the Institute for Sustainable Process Technologies (ISPT) on high temperature heat pumps in November 2022, and our ultimate end goal is to create a self-sustaining process that re-uses all the required energy that has previously been wasted.
So, how does our concept work?
Say hello to our heat recovery system concept
Currently, much of the heat used during our spray drying processes is removed through an exhaust where it is consequently lost. But with this innovative concept, the hot air will be sent to a direct contact heat exchanger where both the sensible and latent heat will be recovered and transferred into water. This will then be moved to a heat pump system which uses the heat to produce low pressure steam. Following this, the steam is upgraded to multiple temperature levels up to 190°C via a series of steam screw compressors. Finally, the heat is extracted at these different temperature levels to heat up the air needed for the spray dryer – resulting a highly efficient heat recovery system.
We’re also working with Atlas Copco to develop additional heat recovery systems that are likely to create even more energy savings. One of these systems will aim to incorporate the secondary air of the spray dryer, while another will aim to replace the Thermal Vapor Recompressor in existing evaporators by adding a multi-stage centrifugal compressor system with intermediate vapor injection for de-superheating. This concept could result in an energy saving of up to 85%!
An important development
As a whole, the dairy industry has a hugely important role to play in creating a more sustainable future. By creating solutions that will help conserve energy, we will ultimately be able to provide our customers with ingredients that are doing more to conserve energy and protect our planet.
But we can’t do it alone. We all need to work collectively to make changes that have a big impact on our planet. That’s why we and Atlas Copco are proud to share our new concept with the rest of our colleagues in the dairy industry. The technology we’re designing won’t just be for us – it may have the potential to help manufacturers throughout the dairy ingredients industry save and re-use energy. Because together, we can achieve more.
To learn more about our heat recovery system concept and the opportunities it can offer, please contact Sebastiaan Tsirakos at email@example.com
Discover more of our sustainability initiatives in our sustainability hub.
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