Finland’s largest dairy producer Valio has introduced an industrial scale heat pump solution at its factory in Seinäjoki, which is unique in the world, according to the company. Set up in cooperation with the Finnish companies Scancool Oy and Elomatic Oy, Valio’s two heat pumps capture heat and cold air from the factory’s different production processes, making it possible to reuse of the energy in the plant.
“The two heat pumps at the Seinäjoki factory produce about 19 GWh of energy annually which is equivalent to the energy consumption of 1000 electrically heated detached houses. In monetary terms the saving is EUR 500,000 per year. The investment will pay for itself in a couple of years,” says Matti Lepistö, Project Manager at Valio.
The factory needs heat for washing processes, cottage cheese and butter production, milk powder drying, and for heating of the property. The cold is needed for cooling the products. The heat pump solution has made it possible for Valio produce all its cottage cheese with renewable energy.
The factory has 2.5km of pipes for collecting, returning and distributing heat. The heat pumps have been developed and manufactured by Scancool, while Elomatic’s 3D imaging know-how helped in fitting the massive pipe network accurately into a factory that remained constantly in operation, according to Lepistö.
Valio is already using heat pumps in its factories located in Riihimäki, Joensuu, Oulu and Vantaa. In November, Valio’s factory in Lapinlahti will introduce a heat pump system on a similar scale to the one in Seinäjoki. Valio is aiming to reduce its energy consumption relative to output by 9% in the period 2005 - 2016.