Renewables-powered steam heat pump for industrial applications


MAN Energy Solutions, a Germany-based manufacturer of engines and turbomachinery solutions, has announced it will trial the design and implementation of a steam-generating industrial-scale heat pump.

The technology will be powered by electricity from renewable sources such as solar, hydro, geothermal and wind, according to a MAN statement. It will produce steam to dry dairy ingredients for Frontera, a dairy cooperative based in New Zealand.

“After integration into Fonterra’s production infrastructure, the heat pump could produce more than 30 metric tons of process steam per hour, equivalent to a thermal output of 25 MW,” MAN said in a statement without adding more technical details. The dairy farm’s CO2 production could be reduced by 60,000 metric tons annually.

The first step of the project will carry out an engineering study to develop the integration of the heat pump solution into the cooperative’s existing milk powder production. This study is expected to be completed by the end of April 2023, according to MAN. The findings will then be used to design a heat pump system at one of Fonterra’s manufacturing sites.

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“With Fonterra being the third biggest milk ingredient producer in the world, we are very much looking forward to supporting their decarbonization journey with our expertise and cutting-edge technology solutions,” said Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions.

The dairy producer announced the installation of a biomass boiler to replace a coal boiler at one of its sites last year, which is expected to become operational at the end of November 2023. Its investment in heat pumps using renewable energy sources is part of its commitment to transition away from coal in its manufacturing operations.

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