Design of a near-Net Zero Emissions Factory

Business Decarbonization – Decarbonization Toolkit | Case  Study

Schematic image of CO2 trends

3 minutes reading

  • Food factory
  • High temperature heat pumps
  • Biomass-fuelled CHP
  • PPA from local PV
  • -70’000 tonCO2/y
  • Operative costs reduction

“Bluefoundation to support a large Italian food & beverage company to achieve the CO2 emission reduction target identified for its production facilities”

-85% CO2 emissions by 2030 may seem like a challenging target, but the proposed approach identified this value as realistically achievable for one of the company’s main production sites.

It all started from the company’s need to understand how to approach the decarbonisation of its production sites in the optimal way, from a technical, environmental and economic point of view.

The emissions reduction target

A high-level analysis of all the group’s factories following the collection of information on energy consumption, context and type of each of the production sites has made it possible, through an optimisation model, to identify an emissions reduction target for each plant.

Balanced energy transition strategy. Environmental sustainability, techincal applicability, economic viability
Plant-tailored solutions are contextualised in the corporate decarbonisation roadmap

The factory decarbonization roadmap

Where does the work at plant level start from?

The first step is the analysis of the energy and economic data already held by the company, followed by an on-site visit to fully understand which assets are present, how many, which and when the various energy carriers are used.

decarbonization toolkit: a 3 steps process: plant analysis, CO2 reduction potential, Implementation roadmap

The second step is the simulation of decarbonisation scenarios:

The information gathered in the first step is used to create a digital model of the real plant, which allows different decarbonisation scenarios to be easily generated. The result of the process is the selection, together with the customer, of the best plant configuration that allows:

  • to respect the technical constraints of the project
  • to meet the emissions reduction target
  • to obtain the most cost-effective and lowest-risk economic outlook, taking into account dedicated sensitivity analyses.

The results: solutions and roadmap

“Energy Efficiency First” is a common motto among insiders, but the plan, in the case of Green Factory 2030, goes far beyond standard energy efficiency measures that on average can lead to a 10-15% reduction in emissions. In fact, the plant was studied with a holistic approach, which allowed Bluefoundation to select from the panorama of decarbonisation technologies those applicable for the specific case, integrating them into a single model.

no silver bullet solution, the best mix is selected for the specific case, it includes: renewables, biomass, alternative fuels as biomethane and bioliquids, wastes valorisation ad gasification and biochar, hydrogen technologies as fuel cells electrolyzers and h2-ready boilers and ovens, power optimisation, energy efficiency, thermal and electrical storage, heat pumps for hot water and steam

The resulting multi-year decarbonisation strategy is based on a combination of the following solutions:

  • High-temperature heat pumps for water production by exploiting the dissipation circuit of the cooling units;
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) fuelled by local woody biomass, capable of decoupling the thermal demand from the electrical demand;
  • Reduction of process steam pressure;
  • Purchase of renewable electricity through PPA produced by photovoltaic plants on adjacent land.

Other examples of solutions evaluated and then discarded in the roadmap phase:

  • Pyrolysis of organic production waste, a solution potentially generating resalable products for other purposes and with a higher degree of circularity than combustion;
  • Self-production of green hydrogen through renewable sources (wind/PV) coupled with on-site electrolysers.

Each intervention is accompanied by:

  • general information useful for qualifying the requirements and expected effects;
  • quantitative technical information (sizing);
  • quantitative economic information (impact on CAPEX and OPEX);
  • a list of possible suppliers who can proceed with the detailed feasibility study and implementation of the individual proposed interventions.

The total? An achievable CO2 reduction of more than 70,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

Outcomes and Next Steps

Currently, the proposed interventions are in the pre-design phase for implementation, in line with the group’s decarbonisation plan.

The implementation of the decarbonization plan developed by Bluefoundation will not only significantly reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by improving the sustainability of its production processes, but will also lead to reduced risk exposure thanks to less dependence on fossil fuels and improved corporate image in a market that is increasingly attentive to sustainability.

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