Efficient steam boilers bring cash benefits

By Rod Addy and Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hot water, Efficient energy use, Water, Carbon trust, Ireland

Heinz: investing in energy-efficient boilers
Heinz: investing in energy-efficient boilers
Heinz and Greene King are two of the latest firms in the food and drink sector to take advantage of energy efficient improvements to significantly cut the operational costs of their boilers.

New analysis by the Carbon Trust reveals that heating and hot water accounts for over one-third of UK organisations' energy consumption and up to 60% of the carbon emissions from some UK industrial processes, such as food production, where demand for steam or hot water is high. However, it's possible to cut heating costs by up to 30% by implementing boiler-related energy saving measures.

Heinz is investing in energy-efficient steam boilers at its factories in the UK and Ireland as part of its global sustainability strategy. The firm has confirmed a £787,816 investment in steam generators at its Dundalk plant in Ireland, which produces frozen ready meals primarily for the UK.

Cooking process

The factory is already a large steam user, having harnessed steam for use in the cooking process and to heat water for cleaning. It was using a large old firetube boiler but, in a 12-month plan to improve energy efficiency, it has switched to two Babcock Wanson ESM7000 sequence-controlled steam generators, which are 96–97% efficient.

"This system has enabled us to reduce gas usage by approximately 10% from previous years,"​ said a Heinz spokesman. "The reason we selected this style of steam generator was based on bringing more flexibility to steam generation when demand was required rather than mass production. The project has been key to the site contributing towards our global sustainability targets."​ He said planned return on investment for the steam boilers made the initial outlay well worth it, with the kit offering significant annual savings.

According to new guidance published by the Carbon Trust, organisations in the UK could save over £400M a year by taking simple, low-cost actions to improve the efficiency of their hot water boilers.

According to Heinz's global sustainability strategy, in 2005 the grocery giant set a target to cut energy consumption by 20% by fiscal year 2015. By the end of last year it had achieved a reduction of 15.1% through various initiatives.

Meanwhile, Greene King has significantly reduced the energy consumption and carbon emissions at its Westgate Brewery in Suffolk with the help of engineering consultancy Lorien Engineering Solutions.

Energy-intensive

The six-month turnkey project was preceded by a pre-engineering design study investigating the variability of evaporation rates in the wort boiling system. This is the most energy-intensive part of the brewing process where a copper acts like a giant kettle and boils the wort for around an hour before the cooled solution is transferred to a fermenting vessel.

The Lorien team implemented various modifications to the steam and condensate systems including new pipe work, steam mass flow meters, steam control valves, steam traps and steam isolation valves. Expansion of the electrical and pneumatic systems included a new remote input/output control panel and a new pneumatic solenoid valve panel. Lastly, new software was created for control and supervision of the system.

The new steam and high-temperature hot water boilers and low-temperature hot water boilers guides are part of the Carbon Trust's Expert in Energy series. Download the guides at www.carbontrust.co.uk/expertinenergy​.

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