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Article Date: 22nd August 2019

Spirax Sarco - Prioritising Environmental Values

Clean Steam - Carbon Trust - Steam System - Steam Traps

Spirax Sarco - Prioritising Environmental Values

From brewing to food processing, steam plays an important role in the food and beverage sector. It is widely used for a variety of production processes, including blanching, bottle washing, and peeling, canning and cooking. Different types of steam, such as filtered and clean steam, can also have a huge impact on the quality of the end product.

The food and drink processing industry is labelled as the fourth highest industrial energy user in the UK by the Carbon Trust. With the 2020 emissions target looming, it has never been a better time for the sector to reduce its carbon footprint. At Spirax Sarco, we are committed to helping our customers gain better control of their energy consumption, which, in turn, will help to significantly reduce energy consumption and costs. From experience, we have found that one of the best ways to do this is by implementing simple, efficient measures.

A good place to start is using equipment that can optimise the steam system, such as modern heat exchange technology. Systems like these can be implemented easily, helping plant operators to improve overall plant safety, reduce energy costs and usage, increase efficiency, and remain competitive in this demanding market. Crucially, these improvements don’t need major overhauls to company structures and processes. Instead, companies can make simple changes to equipment they already have in the plant, which will still achieve significant savings.

Spirax Sarco - Prioritising Environmental ValuesGiven the current economic climate, operators may be interested to know that optimising the efficiency of their steam system could be easier than expected. Take, for example, steam traps. These are the most important link in the condensate loop, and can help to lower energy consumption, maintain product quality and increase productivity. Effective steam trapping is, therefore, an essential process that can help users operate sustainably. Needless to say, trap selection must meet the pressure, condensate load and air venting requirements of the process. From trapping stations to specific trap devices, steam traps are considered to be one of the most effective resource-saving measures, so users must take care of them – ideally through scheduled maintenance.

A reliable and safe supply of hot water is crucial for wash-down and Clean-in-Place (CIP) processes. Traditionally, the food and beverage industry has relied on large shell-and-tube calorifiers that use steam to heat water.

By replacing these storage tanks with instantaneous systems that use compact heat exchangers, like Spirax Sarco’s EasiHeat™, plants can achieve energy savings of up to 20 per cent. These systems work by capturing and reusing heat that may otherwise have been wasted, and can deliver a constant supply of instantaneous hot water at a stable temperature. This reduces the amount of steam required, which, in turn, cuts fuel demand and the associated CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, plate heat exchangers are easier to maintain and simpler to control, which helps keep the system running at optimum efficiency.

Spirax Sarco - Prioritising Environmental ValuesIt’s important to remember that the boiler house is the engine room that powers the whole steam system, making it a vital place from which to measure efficiency. The only way to obtain true boiler efficiency is to meter all energy into the boiler (in the gas and feed water) and compare this with the useful energy out of the boiler (in the steam). Energy monitoring systems, such as Spirax Sarco’s B850 Boiler House Energy Monitor, manage this process, allowing users to react quickly to any data they receive.

If the monitor detects a drop in efficiency levels, for example, the cause can be identified quickly and remedial action taken in order to prevent unnecessary costs from arising. The monitoring of systems also enables energy and facility managers to benchmark the efficiency of boiler settings and operating procedures, meaning energy and cost savings can be measured and implemented effectively.

All food and beverage companies must comply with certain legislation, and some may also be driven by their impact on the environment, hence the reason why energy efficiency needs to be high on the agenda. By implementing simple measures to help optimise the efficiency of the steam system, steam users will, not only benefit from reducing their carbon footprint, but will achieve significant cost savings in the process too.

By Dave Bird, National Sales Manager at Spirax Sarco

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