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Sustainable cooling and heating solution

04 April 2022

Find out how a greenfield poultry processing plant has minimised heating and cooling energy costs. 

Wipasz SA is a Polish feed producer and a leader in the production of fresh chicken meat. It’s new greenfield facility at Miedzyrzec Podlaski in Poland, is said to be one of the most automated and sustainable poultry processing plants in Europe.

GEA Refrigeration Technologies  was chosen by the organisation to instal an integrated cooling and heat pump system at the new facility.

It was a complex project, as Andrzej Wachink, technical director at Wipasz, explained: “The new plant is vast and very modern. We set GEA three challenges – keep the plant cool; recover waste heat to reduce energy consumption of boilers used for the production of hot water, and create adequate ventilation, especially in the slaughter area.” 

The spacious cutting area at the plant, which has the capacity to process up to 14,500 chickens per hour, required an efficient cooling solution to maintain the appropriate ambient operating temperatures to keep the temperature of the meat low and stable. 

Freezing and chilling processes are also extremely temperature-sensitive, with product for fresh distribution packed at 0°C and the remaining batch frozen to minus 18°C, for export or further processing – such as for chicken nuggets. Finally, the same system needed to allow for ventilation, the continuous refreshment of air, as well as air conditioning in both the factory and offices to help regulate temperature and humidity levels.

Cooling capacity
GEA designed, engineered and delivered 5.3 MW of cooling capacity for five plate freezers, five batch freezing tunnels, two cold stores and 64 air coolers. The equipment includes reciprocating compressor units - Grasso V1800 for air conditioning of the plant, a Grasso Screw Compressor SP1 driving the main cooling process for poultry, and a Grasso Screw Compressor SP2 for freezing and generating the heat for water and air conditioning,

In addition, GEA has installed eight air handling units for ventilation of the production rooms and four for air conditioning of the office building, all supplied with cooling from the central ammonia plant and heat recovered from it. 

Wipasz was also equipped with two heat recovery systems that cover the facility’s entire hot water needs and other heating demands, including offices and social areas, meaning a reduced carbon footprint and very quick return on investment thanks to the lack of boiler requirement. GEA’s customised 65 HP heat pump is an important component of the factory’s waste heat recycling system, producing higher temperatures up to 55°C. 

Energy-efficient heat pumps are rapidly becoming the technology of choice in the drive for a carbon neutral future. When combined with a refrigeration unit, both cooling and heating are possible, turning one-time use into a continuous cycle and lowering energy costs by 30% or more – a significant saving when you consider that within the food, dairy and beverage industries, up to 60% of energy usage goes to heating and cooling.

In conclusion, Wachink said: “The assembly of the refrigerating machine room was complicated with many lots of exchangers and many kilometres of piping, however GEA showed great skills and I would recommend them to anyone involved in the meat industry.” 

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