Canadian meat producer installs desuperheater to capture waste heat and reduce gas consumption


Heat from Maple Leaf Foods’ ammonia system is used to produce make-up water for the boiler.

Maple Leaf Foods (MLF), a meat and vegetable protein producer based in Mississauga, Canada, was able to reduce the use of natural gas in the boiler system at one of its more than 600,000 m3 (21,188,800 feet3) per year using the heat generated by the installation’s ammonia / NH3 (R717) refrigeration system.

The project was described by Canadian contractor Cimco Refrigeration in a case study on Cimco website.

Cimco installed the original ammonia refrigeration system (with a capacity of 6,000 TR / 21,101 kW), and later a desuperheater of Doucette Industries which exploits the residual heat of the system to generate make-up water for the boiler. This project was the largest desuperheater facility in Ontario, Canada, Cimco said.

The 600,000m3 of gas saved per year is roughly equivalent to an 8% reduction in the plant’s natural gas consumption. This represents a reduction of 1172 metric tonnes of CO2e emissions per year, ie a reduction of 5.5% in the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Cimco, if the installation saved 626,000m3 of natural gas, the annual cash savings would be $ 137,742. MLF expects a significant project grant from a utility provider, which would produce a Return on Net Assets (RONA) in 5 years.

In addition to the desuperheater installation, Cimco provided piping installation and insulation, electrical controls and services, and system commissioning.

When planning the project, Cimco had to limit downtime while pumping a very large plant made up of 20,000 lbs (9,071 kg) of ammonia. A backup cooling system was provided during the plant shutdown to maintain a US $ 2 million inventory of refrigerated products.

Prior to this project, Cimco also completed a feasibility study to project potential natural gas savings.

Ambitious sustainable development goals

The desuperheater project was aligned with MLF’s goal of becoming “the world’s most sustainable protein company”. In 2019, MLF became the first Canadian food company to set science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets and the first major food company in the world to achieve carbon neutrality.

In a press release to celebrate a year of carbon neutrality, MLF President and CEO Michael McCain said, “Our journey to become the world’s most sustainable protein company has only just begun and we are urgently invested at all levels of our organization. fight against the negative impact of carbon emissions on the environment. “

He added, “We have ambitious science goals that will guide our progress in the years to come, and we are committed to providing long-term leadership in sustainability.”

MLF’s sustainability goals include reducing its environmental footprint and food waste by 50% by 2025, and reducing the absolute greenhouse gas emissions produced by its operations and purchased electricity by 30%. by 2030.

We are invested at all levels of our organization to urgently fight against the negative impact of carbon emissions on the environment. – Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods


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