NETHERLANDS – GEA, a technology and equipment supplier, has collaborated with Nestlé to enhance the energy efficiency of a new infant formula plant in Nunspeet, the Netherlands.

The project involves equipping a milk powder line for hypoallergenic infant formula with advanced process and heat pump technology.

By implementing innovative heat recovery from the spray dryer and other processes, the plant is expected to achieve a 75% reduction in energy consumption for steam, leading to a significant decrease in carbon emissions.

This initiative aligns with Nestlé’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions in its production facilities by 2050.

In response to the growing demand for its Althera and Alfare infant formula brands, Nestlé is expanding production capacity at the Nunspeet plant with an additional processing line.

GEA’s heat recovery system, fed by exhaust air from the spray drying plant, will provide 80°C hot water for operation, contributing to a more sustainable and efficient production process.

GEA will also equip the complete wet processing technology, supplying the Nestlé spray drying line with prepared milk.

The installation of process technology and the heat supply system is scheduled for this year, with the plant expected to be operational in 2025.

Nestlé’s investment aims not only to increase capacity but also to advance its sustainability agenda by reducing carbon emissions, dust emissions, and water demand.

The utilization of renewable heat energy is a key focus of Nestlé’s climate strategy.

Gerben Koopmans, Engineering Manager at Nestlé, noted that the new plant in Nunspeet will serve as a demonstrator for future-oriented solutions to minimize energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in milk powder production.

The GEA system is expected to reduce the plant’s steam consumption by 75%, marking a significant achievement in energy efficiency.

The project, supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, showcases GEA’s integrated solutions that combine process technology with heating and cooling technology.

By integrating these disciplines in production planning and design implementation, GEA aims to significantly reduce the plant’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.

 In addition to the ammonia heat pump for the spray dryer, GEA will provide a second heat pump to supply hot water at 85°C for the entire production line and various dehydration processes, as well as cold water at 1.5°C for air-conditioning the factory.

GEA’s process technology for the wet line includes evaporators, inline formula mixers, a homogenizer, high-pressure and high-shear pumps, heat exchangers, valves, and other connecting components and pipework.

The heat pump system will ensure maximum energy efficiency in the operation of this process technology.

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