Arla Foods orders sustainable heat pump solution from GEA
In March 2023, GEA received an order from Arla Foods AKAFA to install the GEA AddCool sustainable heat pump solution at its facility in Svenstrup, Denmark. At this site, the world-leading manufacturer of dairy products is planning to produce milk powder using a more sustainable process. GEA’s AddCool technology halves a plant’s consumption of fossil fuels and its associated carbon footprint.
The new GEA AddCool system not only reduces the carbon footprint of Arla’s spray drying plant (GEA MSD® 315 spray dryer) by 50 percent, but also reduces the plant’s fossil fuel consumption with more than 50 percent. Conventional dairy powder plants have a high carbon footprint, with the spray dryer accounting for up to 70 percent of emissions. This means that a 50-percent CO2 saving from the spray dryer has a huge impact on overall plant emissions. In addition, the GEA AddCool system is delivering ice water to the existing system, which means that the need for cooling capacity is reduced. This will increase the total efficiency of different systems on the site making it more sustainable overall.
GEA AddCool – A milestone in energy savings
Jens Løkke Ganderup, operational support manager at Arla Foods AKAFA: “As part of the sustainability program at our production site in Svenstrup, optimizing energy usage and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels such as natural gas are very important to us. GEA’s AddCool solution helps us to lower fossil fuel consumption significantly.”
A GEA customer for more than 60 years, Arla deploys a great deal of equipment from the company in the manufacture of various dairy products. The spray drying plant at Svenstrup site was built in 1972 and has been upgraded and modernized several times. The most recent order placed with GEA marks the culmination of the two companies’ long-standing partnership and is a testimony to the trust placed in GEA’s state-of-the-art technology. The project started five years ago when GEA conducted an energy survey at Arla Foods AKAFA that showed the potential for substantial energy savings from the spray drying plant. Arla’s own internal survey confirmed the results and paved the way for the decision in favor of the GEA AddCool.
Ulrik Lund Jakobsen, CEO of GEA Business Unit Powder & Thermal Separation Technologies, says: “GEA AddCool technology is a real milestone in energy savings. We are very proud to be able to use our technology to support Arla Foods in achieving their sustainability goals. At the same time, this technology marks a major step forward in our own sustainability strategy in which we commit to offering ever more energy-efficient products.”
Recovering waste energy
Spray drying is a technology that uses hot air to manufacture high-quality powders. As the air heaters usually operate on fossil fuels, they emit high levels of CO2. All the heat input into the process is eventually released at low temperatures as waste heat. The GEA CO2 heat pump technology recovers waste heat from the exhaust air or other plant waste energy streams. This energy is upgraded and used to warm the air in the spray dryer to as much as 120°C before feeding it into the dryer’s conventional heating system.
Since the GEA AddCool heat pump system works as an addition to the native spray dryer air heating system without impairing plant throughput, final powder properties or quality, it can be easily retrofitted in conventional plants. Additionally, the option of reverting to the original system during routine maintenance means that the spray dryer can continue powder production uninterrupted.