Geelen Counterflow has installed its first electric counterflow dryer at the Cargill-Ewos aquafeed plant in Bergneset, just above the polar circle in Norway. Energy consumption for drying is reduced by 75% (15000 MWh per year) and CO2 emissions from drying (previously 3,000 tons per year) are eliminated because gas burners have been replaced by electric heat pumps running on renewable electricity.
This is the first electric dryer following eight years of brainstorming, design, engineering and pilot testing. This dryer in Norway also is the biggest counterflow dryer in the world, with 15 drying decks. Two more electric counterflow dryers will start running in South Korea and China in the next few months.
In early April, the heat recovery system and heat pumps were successfully commissioned so the gas burners could be turned off, making Cargill-Ewos Bergneset the first zero-emission feed factory in the world. The gas burners stay in place to provide redundancy.
The four high-temperature heat pumps were manufactured by Combitherm from Germany, using a new design of screw compressor from Bitzer, Germany. The working fluid is non-flammable, with an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0 and an ultra-low Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1.
Monica Hagen, regional operations manager at Cargill North Sea, said, “let me express how satisfied we are with the electric dryer and heat pump technology you have installed at Bergneset. It has been very important for Cargill to have a highly competent partner like Geelen on this project who has come with invaluable expertise and input. It is great that we also appear to be the first and biggest, at the same time as we have reduced both energy usage and CO2 emission. I would like to thank Geelen for their high commitment throughout the long project period.”
Jan Helge Forde, capital excellence lead, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, said that “this project was delivered on time and with better performance than expected. Due to the good teamwork from the suppliers and the project organization, we have now been running the Geelen Counterflow dryer on electricity since early April. All gas burners have been switched off. The energy recovery system and the heat pumps allow us to reduce energy consumption by 75% and eliminate all emissions of CO2 and NOx. We will be able to reduce CO2 emissions per year by 3,000 metric tons.”
Sander Geelen, CEO of Geelen Counterflow, said that “heat recovery and high-temperature heat pumps are now a proven alternative to gas burners for drying of extruded feed or food. Following the first month of monitoring, we can now say that the system performs according to our calculations with a COP (Coefficient Of Performance) of approximately 4. This means that only 1kWh of electricity is needed in the heat pumps to supply 4kWh of heat to the dryer. The other 3kWh are recovered from the warm wet air exiting the dryer, so 75% of energy is saved compared to drying with gas. At the same time, water is recovered, odor emissions are reduced and thanks to renewable electricity all emissions of both CO2 and NOx have been eliminated.”