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How food & beverage manufacturers are tackling the energy challenge

We share some practical examples of how food and beverage manufacturers are balancing the demands of planet and profit.

It’s clear that food and beverage manufacturers need to take significant steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Government and regulators around the world are legislating it. And consumers expect it too.  

But this is an industry that has vast heating and cooling requirements – and decarbonisation in these spaces is challenging. When we spoke with Emma Piercy from the Food and Drink Federation recently, she shared that without further interventions, the sector can only reduce emissions from heat by 64% by 2050 when compared to 2012. More needs to be done to get the industry to net zero. 

At the same time, it’s critical to also keep your energy costs under control, particularly given the ongoing global energy crisis. But this doesn’t have to compete with your environmental goals: there are ways that your environmental and economic goals can not only co-exist, but actively feed off one another. 

But what do those energy solutions look like? Below are a few of the ways we’ve helped leading food and beverage manufacturers to reduce both their costs and carbon emissions.

Developing the world’s first solar PV-enabled floating water basin cover 

Artificial freshwater basins are used by greenhouses for watering their operations, and it’s essential that they’re covered to reduce water evaporation, and prevent algae growth and water pollution.  

We worked with our partner Albers Alligator to monetise this space. Solar PV panels are installed and secured on top of an Albers Alligator’s floating water basin cover solution, enabling greenhouses to harvest solar energy from their freshwater basins and generate green electricity on-site. When it was first installed in the Netherlands at Kwekerij de Noordhoe’s greenhouse, 1,031 solar PV modules delivered 428 kW peak power output – enough to power 100 homes. 

Cutting energy costs through device level insights

Altex Group is a leading agro-industrial group that specialises in packed and canned vegetables, frozen fruits, jams and citrus concentrates. In 2018, their energy consumption surpassed 65,000 MWh, so they wanted to find ways to make their operations more energy efficient and ensure it remained competitive in the market.  

They deployed our Panoramic PowerTM wireless sensors to capture and analyse the energy consumption of 115 pieces of equipment across their operations. This has given them the meaningful data they needed to identify efficiency opportunities. It’s enabled them to reduce their energy consumption by 2,180 MWh, reduce energy costs by 8% and reduce CO2 emissions by 53,553 tons.  

Reducing costs and carbon emissions with CHP 

When a British bakery started making plans to open one of Europe’s largest plants, they wanted to ensure it operated in the most energy efficient manner. Since they would have significant heat requirements, they partnered with Centrica Business Solutions to install a 1MWe Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit from our latest range of the most electrically efficient units.  

Through this installation, electricity is produced at low-voltage, then increased to a high-voltage for connection to the site’s 11KV ring main. The CHP unit is helping the new plant to save 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. What’s more, energy costs were reduced by approximately £400,000 per year, allowing them to pay for the warranty-backed unit in around three years.

Reducing carbon emissions isn’t just the right thing to do for the planet – it makes good commercial sense, at a time when consumers and retailers are choosing to buy from food and beverage manufacturers who demonstrate strong green credentials. Download your briefing paper to find out how you can balance your financial and environmental demands.

Food and beverage manufacturers don’t have to make a choice between planet and profit. Download your food and beverage briefing paper today.

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