How Energy Efficiency Can Boost Food and Beverage ProfitsBy Cas Biekmann | Mon, 10/12/2020 - 15:15
Mexico’s many industries use vast amounts of energy. One example is the food and beverages sector, which barrels through a ton of power to produce its products. Containing those costs through energy efficiency can lead to higher profits and open an avenue toward a carbon-free future. Businesses like Veolus, a 100 percent Mexican company that specializes in energy optimization and management, offer a set of integral solutions to make this happen.
So how much energy does food and beverage actually use in its production processes? According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), a lot. US food and beverage processing alone took up 4 percent of industry energy consumption in 2019, figures that are similar to those in Mexico. In the EU, that figure increases to 10 percent, according to the European Commission. Research from the University of Birmingham in 2019 shows that the following products require the most energy to process: instant coffee, milk powder, French fries, chips and bread. In the Mexican context, tortillas can be added to this list. All this energy use leads to a hefty energy bill.
KNOW YOUR ENERGY
By improving energy efficiency, companies can improve profits. To achieve this, companies need to fully understand their energy first. Veolus helps the industry to map out energy information accurately by providing two main services: an energy audit and grid code studies.
Using an energy audit, Veolus provides a diagnosis of energy consumption for every piece of equipment in every process, no matter the type of energy that powers it. The company can provide its clients with an evaluation on the state of the equipment as well. After performing the diagnostic, the client receives recommendations for high-impact actions it can implement to maximize energy efficiency. Finally, Veolus can arrange the supply and installation of equipment to this end.
Yet, efficient energy goes beyond internal equipment. To receive optimal power quality and comply with Mexico’s extensive regulations, Veolus’ grid code studies are essential. Thanks to these studies, clients gain insight into the quality of the power they receive. The analysis will demonstrate ways to prevent costly and hazardous short circuits by coordinating electric protection measures. In addition, the client’s information and communication technology will be evaluated so that they can be assured their operation benefits from Industry 4.0’s technological advancements. Based on the studies, Veolus issues a summary that highlights which equipment does not comply with current regulatory norms and technological standards. The summary provides recommendations, actions to be taken and investments needed to meet these necessary parameters. If necessary, Veolus can update the client’s single-line diagram and update its wiring diagrams.
USING HEAT FOR POWER
For companies that want to reduce their costs, however, they should also think about how to maximize efficiency in their operation. For many processes, an abundance of heat is generated. While this seems to be a simple or even undesirable byproduct, heat can actually be used to generate massive amounts of energy. On a bigger, isolated scale, Mexico relies on combined-cycle energy generation, where excess heat from natural gas generation is used to produce even more energy. On a smaller scale, but based on a similar idea, are cogeneration and trigeneration. These technologies take advantage of whatever energy source the food and beverage companies use through energy efficiency. A motor or turbine takes in natural gas and the byproduct, such as excess heat or electrical energy, and feeds it back into the operation. Cogeneration uses the heat to generate more energy, whereas trigeneration absorbs byproducts for heating and cooling purposes. Both approaches save massive amounts of energy. Veolus takes care of the design, supply installation, operation and maintenance of these systems. Furthermore, the company can sell the energy that is generated via the system that is not used by the client at prices cheaper than what CFE is able to provide.
Veolus can take care of the full life cycle of systems that generate chilled and hot water, steam and compressed air, all of which are essential to those in the food and beverages sector. These services include detection and correction of faults, leaks, valves, filters and much more.