German manufacturer GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies has installed an ammonia/NH3 (R717) heat pump at the Mars Wrigley Confectionery chocolate factory in Veghel, the Netherlands. The system has helped reduce the facility’s energy consumption by 6% and CO2 emissions by 1,000 tons CO2e per year, according to a recent statement from the manufacturer.
The system has also helped reduce Mars’s natural gas consumption by 1 million m3 (35.3 million ft3) per year. Mars says that this is equivalent to the combined annual energy consumption of about 625 households.
With a heating capacity of 1,400kW (398TR), the customized system is based on GEA’s Grasso V HP reciprocating compressors and uses low-temperature heat recovered from the facility’s refrigeration system to heat up water to 63°C (145°F). This water is then used in various processes within the facility, for example, chocolate and syrup storage and air-handling units.
This system is just one of the 150 ammonia heat pumps GEA has installed around the world.
Enhancing energy efficiency with heat recovery
GEA also installed the facility’s refrigeration system and was subsequently contacted by Mars to explore ways to achieve further energy savings and CO2 reductions as part of the confectioner’s Sustainable in a Generation Plan. As a part of this plan, Mars aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its operations (i.e. factories and offices) by 2040 with natural refrigerant-based cooling systems contributing both improved energy efficiency and reduced direct GHG emissions. As of 2021, over half of Mars’s factory refrigerant inventory had been converted to natural refrigerants.
“After analyzing energy-saving and energy-management opportunities at the facility, it was determined that installing heat pump systems would significantly enhance the energy efficiency of Mars’s overall process and support their commitment to a healthy planet,” said GEA. “The heat pump installation reduces the chocolate factory’s carbon footprint and contributes to the achievement of Mars’s stated sustainability goals,” GEA added.
“The heat pump installation reduces the chocolate factory’s carbon footprint and contributes to the achievement of Mars’s stated sustainability goals.”GEA
“We engaged in fruitful discussions with the GEA team on how to achieve further energy efficiency and CO2 reduction at our facility – and the approach of installing heat pumps systems to reach this goal has proven successful,” said Paul Simons, Global Technology Leader at Mars Wrigley.
According to Simons, Mars plans to install heat pumps at other facilities across the globe. The confectioner views waste heat reuse as “one of the key enablers” for its target of becoming energy neutral by 2040.
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