Case study at Lamb Weston/Meijer proves energy-saving and environmentally friendly Cooling Water treatment attributes of the IVG Cooling Tower concept.
Lamb Weston/Meijer is one of the world’s largest companies for frozen potato products and dried potato flakes. In 2014, the Bergen op Zoom branch started with a large investment project which doubled the capacity of this location with a new production line, and the existing production line was be renovated. In 2016, the cooling water supply of the new production line was also taken care of. Luc Wuyts was involved in the project as a maintenance engineer after he had convinced the management of chemical free water treatment. A year later Lamb Weston/Meijer and the supplier evaluate.
“Fast-food is booming”, says Luc Wuyts. “That means that we as a supplier have to realize an enormous increase in capacity. For us, quality really trumps price. Because we work with a natural product, that really is a challenge. The process can be different every day.” Washing, peeling, and cutting the potatoes into fries takes up sixteen Olympic sized swimming pools every day, says Wuyts. “ We have an ambitious sustainability ambition, and so at Lamb Weston/Meijer we do everything to reuse the water. The goal for 2020 is a 50 percent decrease of direct water usage and a 30 percent decrease of our direct energy consumption per ton of end product.”
No cure no pay.
At a branch in the United States, a failed test with chemical free cooling water purification was done, and they were not too enthusiastic to try it again. “In the US, the heat exchange coils were up for replacement after a year.” Because that is the most important: how do you prevent lime scale on the heat exchange coils when you cannot make use of chemicals? And we are not even talking about the prevention of legionella. Wuyts and his colleagues came in touch with Pathema, and saw something in their IVG-C CoolWater PRO.
This works on the basis of a vortex (see, Fluid Processing no. 5, 2014, and no. 4, 2015). “Although not everyone in the company was convinced, the energy team pushed through and agreed to a pilot with Mark Boeren of Pathema, which would be evaluated after one year, on the basis of nu cure no pay. He told us that aside from not having to work with chemicals – which is a lot safer for the employees – substantial savings in energy could also be achieved.” Luc Wuyts.
Mark Boeren, “The Vortex at the center of our installation ensures, by use of controlled cavitation, that the gas bubbles are pulled to the vacuum. This causes the creation of calcium carbonate crystals in the water, which do not adhere to the heat exchanger or the heat exchange coils. In fact, our IVG-C contains a crystallization technique that prevents lime from settling on the heat exchanger.
We filter the large crystals with a 100-150 micron self-cleaning filter. Blowdown water serves as backwash water for the filter. Experience shows that blockage does not occur that way. By extracting the gas bubbles, you in fact bring the viscosity of water down, the system costs more energy, but due to the lack of chemicals, the process in the total chain ultimately consumes less energy.” Boeren had tests carried out by TU Eindhoven which show that no new gas bubbles are absorbed for 20 hours. Before the pilot at Lamb Weston/Meijer, the evaporative condensers were passivated by Pathema without chemicals and bands in different colors were attached to the heat exchange coils (tie wraps). That way, the scale difference could be recorded through use of monthly photographs. At first, Wuyts and his colleagues were startled a bit because loose lime scales came down the plastic packaging. But soon it turned out that it fell off because of its own gravity and because of washing away the filtering with the blowdown water; as is intended by the system. 20 m3/h of cooling water is recirculated continuously in one central remote sump tank. From this, four evaporative condensers are operated with a collective evaporative capacity of over 6 mega Watts. Regarding legionella, the IVG-C works with management technology. Boeren, “No one can give guarantees to exclude it, but our system is ISO 55.3 certified.” Wuyts adds that, if necessary, electrolysis can be switched on. This is installed as an extra option by Pathema, but still serves as an unused backup today because no infections have been detected.
The fact that Lamb Weston/Meijer is satisfied, is evident from the fact that now, eighteen months later, the existing line is also being adjusted. Boeren, “We were able to settle the risk, no cure no pay, and the rent of last year with the purchase. The results were as expected. If you arrange everything well at the start, you will not face any surprises. This is also the case with line 1, which we will now take care of in Bergen op Zoom. And certainly, with such an existing installation you have to look very carefully at what can and cannot be done. Our system only works with wet bulb cooling, but further conditions must also be properly mapped out.” Pathema convinces its customers with a nice Return On Investment (ROI) on water, chemical, energy, and discharge savings. “But full operational lease is also a possibility, in which the savings follow directly, without investments.”
Lamb Weston /Meijer original press release