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Energy Solutions for Food Processing

Food & Beverage Processing

Food Processors Rising energy costs have a detrimental effect on food producers' bottom lines, and with concerns about the sustainability of energy sources reaching an all-time high, food processors are looking for ways to cut costs and reduce their energy consumption. A growing trend in the food processing industry is package redesign to lower energy bills and reduce the environmental impact of packaging. However, the real savings and environmental benefits come from increasing the overall energy efficiency of the operation.

Still, only 39 percent of food processors are currently working to install energy efficient equipment, and only 38 percent have established clear-cut energy conservation goals. It simply can't be overstated that increasing energy efficiency in processing facilities is the most effective way to lower processing costs, increase the bottom line and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Processing accounts for about 78 percent of the energy used by food processors. Of that, 54 percent is used for process heating, 30 percent for motor-driven equipment and 16 percent for refrigeration and cooling. Increasing the energy efficiency of the equipment and employing alternative fuel sources can considerably lower your energy bills and protect diminishing global resources. According to the EPA, 71 percent of the natural gas and 13 percent of the electricity used by food processors can effectively be replaced by less expensive and sustainable alternative fuels.

Star Energy is experienced in helping food processors effectively reduce their energy use to lower the cost of processing food. A comprehensive energy audit enables us to identify improvements at the facility, equipment and process levels to considerably decrease your energy costs.

Our audit begins with an analysis of at least a year's worth of utility bills, followed by a thorough inspection of the building envelope and the systems used in processing, including HVAC, refrigeration, lighting, motor-driven equipment and distribution systems for compressed air, steam and hot water.

Using this information, we develop a comprehensive list of practical, sustainable and cost-effective improvements that will reduce the annual utility bill as well as meet stricter regulatory standards in the future.

Improvements may include employing new technologies, using alternative fuel sources and utilizing waste recovery. Combined heat and power alone, which uses waste heat to generate electricity on site, can result in 80 percent efficiency, compared to 33 percent efficiency with delivered electricity. A comprehensive monitoring plan helps food processors maintain lower energy consumption for the long-term.

In addition to equipment upgrades, retrofits and replacement, no-cost and low-cost improvements can have a serious impact on you bottom line. For example, replacing existing lighting with high output fluorescent lamps can result in a 50 percent reduction in the energy used for lighting, while variable speed drives on electric motor-driven equipment can reduce energy consumption by 20 to 50 percent.