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Tetra Pak and Absolicon partner on renewable thermal energy to power UHT processing

#Tetra Pak and Absolicon partner on renewable thermal energy to power UHT processing

A row of solar panels.
(Image credit: Absolicon)

16 Jan 2024 — Tetra Pak has entered a collaboration with Absolicon, a Swedish solar thermal company, to offer a standardized solution for industrial equipment powered by renewable thermal energy. Due to the performance and scalability of the technology for Tetra Pak, the design is expected to “decarbonize a major step” in UHT processing and reduce fossil fuel usage.

Absolicon has designed a scalable solar thermal module that can be integrated with current and new UHT lines and enable a range of decarbonization options, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, based on customer requirements and location.

Tetra Pak’s UHT processing line for high-temperature sterilization of dairy products is the first solution to be offered together with a scalable solar thermal supply, with the potential to reduce fossil fuel usage by up to 40%, according to the company.

A mechanical component of a UHT production line.Absolicon has designed a scalable solar thermal module that can be integrated with current and new UHT lines (Image credit: Tetra Pak).The first module is forecasted to be installed during 2024 before scaling to a worldwide market.

“[The collaboration with Absolicon provides] Tetra Pak with a new and exciting avenue to support customers to reduce their energy demands by replacing fossil-derived energy with solar thermal solutions,” comments Nicole Uvenbeck, director Factory Sustainable Solutions & OEM Components, Tetra Pak.

Suited for intensive food processing
Renewable energy has become increasingly focused in the food sector, with the latest advancements including Lactalis and renewable heat supplier Newheat’s joint launch of the “largest solar thermal power plant in France,” which will supply heat to Lactalis’ dairy factory for the next 25 years.

In a typical food production plant, two-thirds of the energy consumption is thermal energy, with electricity forming the other third.

As most of the thermal demand is in the form of low to medium temperature, the food industry is a perfect fit for solar thermal energy.

The partnership highlights thermal technology can have a perceptible impact on the environmental performance of equipment powered by solar thermal power modules (STPM) compared to equipment heated by fossil fuel-powered boilers.

Put into context, it is revealed that heat generation today constitutes 40% of the world’s total CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

“[Tetra Pak has] global access to the world’s food and beverage companies and can become a change driver for the sector’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable heat. We are delighted to be part of this collaboration with Tetra Pak and to launch the first equipment line powered by Absolicon solar thermal, as part of our mission to reduce the world’s carbon emissions,” says Joakim Byström, Absolicon CEO.

Net zero for food
Tetra Pak highlights the “impactful role” the partnership plays in Tetra Pak’s ongoing drive toward net zero in our Scope 3 emissions by 2050.

“At Tetra Pak, we are committed to enabling our customers to improve their environmental footprint through optimizing their operations and equipment. We recently launched a new business solution called Factory Sustainable Solutions, where we help our customers optimize energy, water and CIP (Cleaning in Place) on a factory level,” says Uvenbeck.

Last December, the multinational announced an integrated action plan to “drive the change of food systems toward greater security, sustainability and resilience.”

This followed an investment of €1 million (US$1.09 million) in the Netherlands-based material processing and recycling company Recon Polymers to help scale a pilot plant into a full industrial operation to recycle at least 8,000 metric tons of PE and aluminum from beverage cartons every year.

Edited by Benjamin Ferrer

This feature is provided by Packaging Insights’s sister website, Food Ingredients First.

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