Nestlé to cut steam consumption by 75% at its infant formula plant

Wednesday, 28 February, 2024 | Supplied by: GEA Group

Nestlé to cut steam consumption by 75% at its infant formula plant

GEA has been employed to equip a milk powder line for hypoallergenic infant formula at Nestlé’s plant in Nunspeet, the Netherlands, with the latest process and heat pump technology. Using a heat recovery system from the spray dryer and further processes, the plant will use 75% less energy for steam and reduce carbon emissions.

Due to growing demand for its infant formula brands, Nestlé is doubling production capacity at the Nunspeet plant with an additional processing line. It will use a GEA heat recovery system that is fed by exhaust air from the spray drying plant, which will provide 80°C hot water for its operation. GEA will also equip the complete wet processing technology that supplies the Nestlé spray drying line with the prepared milk. Installation is planned for 2024 and expected to go into operation in 2025.

Nestlé’s aim for the project is to not only increase capacity, but also to advance its sustainability agenda by reducing carbon emissions, dust emissions and water demand. Exploiting renewable heat energy is a focus of the company’s climate strategy.

According to Gerben Koopmans, Engineering Manager at Nestlé, the new plant will be a Group-wide demonstrator for energy consumption and emissions solutions in milk powder production. Though Nestlé is familiar with using heat pumps, using them with spray dryers, the most energy-intensive part of the process, is something new for the food manufacturer.

Ronald Hofland, GEA Sales Manager, said, “Our integrated solutions combining process technology with heating and cooling technology set a new benchmark in milk powder production, because fusing the two disciplines in production planning and design implementation significantly reduces the plant’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.”

In addition to the ammonia heat pump for the spray dryer, GEA will provide a second heat pump that supplies hot water at 85°C to heat the entire production line and run the various dehydration processes, as well as cold water at 1.5°C to air-condition the factory. The wet line will also include evaporators, inline formula mixers, a homogeniser, high-pressure and high-shear pumps, heat exchangers, valves, as well as all other connecting components and pipework. The heat pump system will provide this process technology with hot and cold water for maximum energy efficiency in operation.

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