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Finding 85% CO2 savings for coffee roasting plant

26 May 2021

Joh. Johannson Kaffe, a Norwegian coffee producer, has built the world's first plant that consumes 85% less CO2, when compared with conventional coffee production facilities. 

In 2017, when Joh. Johannson Kaffe awarded the construction contract for its new coffee processing plant to Bühler, the plant needed to achieve the lowest greenhouse gas emissions at high productivity. "How we would achieve this, we didn't know at the time," said Bengt Ove Bitnes Hagen, production director at Joh. Johannson Kaffe. "Bühler showed that it could provide solutions for all our complex requirements and maintain the flavour of our coffee. That is why we implemented the project with them as a full-service provider.” 

Bühler supplies the entire processing technology – from green coffee intake to cleaning, blending, roasting, grinding, and including plant automation. At the heart of the coffee processing plant and responsible for the extremely low-emission production is the InfinityRoast with its green coffee preheating unit. Bühler has combined this solution with a novel energy recovery system as well as an energy-efficient emission control system. The heat of the roasting process is recovered by heat exchangers which heat water up to 100°C which is then sent to accumulator tanks in an energy central. Most of the energy stored in this way is reused for the same roasting process and for preheating the coffee beans. The incoming cold air is also heated in this way. In addition, the planned plant has one of the most modern emission control systems for roasting systems by regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO). This process renders the plant's exhaust gases harmless by burning off organic matter. Excess energy stored in the accumulator tanks is used to heat the offices and laboratories or for other purposes in the building. The total balance of electric power required by the factory is covered by photovoltaic solar cells. At maximum capacity, the plant produces up to 12,000 tons of coffee per year.

The energy-intensive roasting process accounts for more than 70% of the total energy consumption of such a plant. Daniel Egy, head of business unit chocolate and coffee at Bühler, said: "In the roasting process alone, our solutions allow energy savings of around 50%, which translates directly into lower production costs." 

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