Feyzin, 9 October 2015 – SPIE Sud-Est showcases all the processes implemented to make this new plant a flagship facility complying with all the economic and environmental requirements specified by the Beaufort producers’ union (Union des Producteurs de Beaufort) for the official opening of the new "Savoie Lactée" whey processing plant on October 9.
Five years ago, when attention was drawn to the losses represented by the failure to make use of whey* (or milk serum) during the manufacture of cheese, the seven cooperatives making up Union des Producteurs de Beaufort (UPB) decided to stop treating whey as a bothersome by-product but, rather, to turn into a product by moving into that market. It was sold off to an external operator which made a profit by using it to make milk powder.
Born of that initiative, the new plant, named Savoie Lactée, includes a milk powder manufacturing shop, a butter-making shop, a ricotta manufacturing shop, those products being intended for both industrial and general consumer markets. Right from the start, UPB clearly stated its aim that this facility should meet strict environmental targets.
A single boiler instead of four
A single boiler was installed instead of the four 800-kW boilers that would theoretically have been required to produce the heat needed by the whole whey processing unit. The plant is coupled to a methanation unit which converts production waste into biogas. This renewable energy is then used by a cogenerator to generate electricity that is sold to the EDF power grid and used to produce hot water. Thanks to this process installed by SPIE Sud-Est, the heat resulting from this process is also recovered, stored and then distributed as needed. This represents an initial energy-saving solutions. For the excess biogas, SPIE Sud-Est designed a system to reinject it into a boiler in order to produce more hot water.
Chilled water and air handling: Managing precision parameters
SPIE Sud-Est developed a chiller installation to cool the manufacturing process and to maintain the required temperature in coldrooms to preserve the products. A dual chilling system was installed to increase energy efficiency. A positive type chilled water system is used for the manufacturing process and a negative type unit is used to chill the coldrooms.
Optimal production quality is also ensured by air conditioning in workshops. Five air handling systems are required to cater for the plants various applications including, notably, in the powder shop. Illustrating the solutions adopted by SPIE Sud-Est to satisfy customers’ special needs and requirements, the powder shop called for in-depth knowledge of the process in order to design a system that would not only control air temperature but also deliver air to the powder bagging station at a very low flow rate in order to avoid blowing powder around the shop.
"The Savoie Lactée plant provides a good example of the expertise developed by SPIE Sud-Est’s HVAC department on a day-to-day basis," says Maxime Fugin who is managing this project for SPIE. "We had to find tailormade solutions that were well-suited to the specific operation of this facility in order to recover heat and make optimal use of the energy produced by methanation."
*Whey, also known as milk serum, is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled. Whey is a liquid consisting of 94% water, along with sugar (lactose), proteins and very little fat.