Carbon neutral juices
In a groundbreaking initiative that could change the way that some of our foods and drinks are manufactured in the future, smoothie and juice drinks manufacturer, innocent, has selected GEA as one of its key technology partners for the design and construction of a carbon-neutral juice manufacturing plant, sited in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The large-scale facility, which innocent is calling the blender, will produce about 400 million bottles of chilled juice every year. From Rotterdam, innocent will supply the European market.
Reducing carbon footprint
From GEA’s perspective, achieving carbon neutrality at the innocent facility will hinge on minimizing how much energy the plant consumes for processing, and that means making sure that energy isn’t wasted. The new plant exploit smart GEA technologies for directly and indirectly recovering energy from one part of the process and channeling it to other parts of the plant. This will cut overall energy requirements and help to reduce that carbon footprint.
Even the most efficient cooling systems generate heat that is often just wasted. Using clever indirect energy recovery technologies, this energy can now be collected and redirected to other processes, say, to heat the water that is used for product pasteurization. GEA heat pump systems that carry out heat recycling are so efficient that it’s possible to completely do away with fossil fuel-burning boilers that are commonly used today in the beverage industry. “The utilisation of heat pumps means heat generation can be provided by waste heat with minimal additional electrical power, which if provided sustainably removes the burning of fuel and therefore drops the carbon emissions to zero,” commented Robert Unsworth, GEA Utilities Manager.
“We are going a step further by designing the plant to suit the optimum refrigeration configuration, thereby achieving the best possible energy profile for the operating plant,” added Franz-Josef Helms, GEA Engineering Manager for the project. “Using our knowledge of the product and technologies, we can optimise the pasteurization process such that the energy recovered is optimized,”