Fonterra reveals high-temperature industrial heat pump


Fonterra has finalized the deployment of a high-temperature heat pump in combination with a solar thermal at its Fonterra Brands New Zealand Palmerston North production site, where it produces fresh white milk for New Zealand’s North Island.

The company, which is one of the largest dairy producers in the world, says the heat pump converts excess heat from chillers and compressors into a heat source.

“We’re really excited about this unique combination of a commercial heat pump and solar thermal plant helping us reduce our gas consumption and emissions output,” said Graham Thomson, site manager for Fonterra Palmerston North.

The new project is expected to reduce the natural gas required by the site and remove 495 tons of CO2e per year, equivalent to taking 140 cars off the road. It is Fonterra’s fourth site to upgrade its energy infrastructure within the last year, as the company works toward its Scope 1 and Scope 2 target of 50% emissions reduction by 2030.

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The heat pump and solar thermal plant has secured co-funding from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry fund, delivered by New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.

In March 2023, Germany-based manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions said it was building an industrial-scale heat pump that generates steam without using gas for use at one of Fonterra’s farms.

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