Researchers at Campden BRI and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne are co-operating with organisations from Austria, Germany, Poland and Spain in the 'Greenfoods' project, which aims to reduce fossil carbon dioxide emissions to zero from businesses in the sector across the EU.
The two-and-a-half-year project, which was launched in April 2013 and is co-funded by the EU's Intelligent Energy Programme, will focus on dairies, bakeries, the meat industry, the fish industry, producers of baby food, cereals, and animal feed, breweries and producers of fruit juice.
As part of the work, 200 energy analyses will be carried out in firms, looking at their energy flows – particularly the generation of heat and cold and their use in production processes – to identify energy efficiency improvements. It will also examine the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, thermal and biomass.
From this group, 20 firms will be chosen for more detailed analysis, while five willing to implement specific measures will benefit from additional guidance. This is expected to lead to an actual emission reduction of 600t of fossil-based carbon dioxide a year.
Participants will be helped to identify tailor-made solutions for optimising their processes and energy supply.
At the core will be a calculation tool for balancing and optimising energy and material flow, which will incorporate the calculation of primary energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, heat integration, use of efficiency and renewable energy technologies, calculation of profitability and the assessment of suitable process technologies.
These calculations will be supported by guidelines for implementation and long-lasting energy management in small and medium-sized firms (SMEs).
The consortium will also address funding mechanisms. Lack of financing is often a barrier for the uptake of technologies to harness renewable energy sources or the implementation of energy efficiency measures, especially for SMEs.
Lean and Green Business System
Meanwhile, lean manufacturing consultancy S A Partners has published a book, Creating a Lean and Green Business System, in conjunction with Suffolk-based brewer Adnams.
In the book, one of its authors, Dr Andy Wood, Adnams' chief executive, describes the brewer's journey as an exemplary study of lean and green leadership. He cites a case study about the making of Europe's first-ever carbon neutral bottle of beer, East Green, in 2008 to show how far the firm has come.
Wood describes how the values of everyone within the firm – not just senior managers – are now embracing this new way of managing change to facilitate a "bottom up" approach to creating a more sustainable business.