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Client Food processing plant

Location USA

Sectors Food and drinks

The challenge

With CO2 scarce, a new refrigerant was needed 

For over a decade, a food processing plant had relied on CO2 for low-temperature cooling. CO2 is a popular refrigerant in the food industry. It’s environmentally friendly, non-toxic and non-flammable. Until recently, it was inexpensive, too. Yet the compound – which is commonly sourced as a byproduct from gas refineries – was becoming scarce due to local refinery shutdowns. Scarcity was driving the price up and affecting supply.

The plant needed a more dependable cooling medium. They wanted to give propylene glycol a try, but they didn’t want a drop in productivity, or risk damaging goods currently stored in their fridges. They needed a reliable test system. 

Project fact file

2 months

Duration of test

Up to $800,000

Annual savings

80 per cent

CO2 replaced

The solution

Heat exchangers and 30-tonne chiller pass the test 

We were called in to help test the propylene glycol solution on a slipstream of the existing process. This temporary test system would put the propylene glycol through its paces before the company made a capital investment in new refrigeration equipment.

During the two-month test, we had to keep the glycol within a specific temperature range – which we achieved using refinery-grade heat exchangers and a 30-tonne low temperature process chiller capable of reaching minus 15°F (minus 26°C). We also supplied all the equipment they would need – water tank, pump and accessories.

the aggreko difference

Our equipment can be adapted to suit the specific needs of different customers.

The impact

Up to $800,000 in annual savings 

The propylene glycol test got the tick of approval, giving the food processing company the confidence to replace 80 per cent of the CO2 it used. This delivered an estimated $600,000 to $800,000 in annual savings.  

As well as the huge cost savings, the switch provided great results for the company. As the CO2 supply dwindled, they could maintain peak productivity using a more readily available cooling medium. More importantly, the food they produced could be safely stored at the perfect temperature.

“We worked closely with this customer to devise a test system that could work alongside their existing systems, for minimal disruption to their productivity.”

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