From energy savings to export competitiveness
“Reducing the amount of energy and materials used per unit in the production of goods and services can contribute both to the alleviation of environmental stress and to greater economic and industrial productivity and competitiveness. Governments, in cooperation with industry, should therefore intensify efforts to use energy and resources in an economically efficient and environmentally sound manner.”
Article 4.18, Agenda 21, United Nations Earth Summit, 1992.
University of Waikato research is helping Fonterra become more competitive through energy savings.
The Foundation for Research Science and Technology and Fonterra are funding a six-year project to reduce energy consumption at the co-operative’s milk powder plants around New Zealand.
Fonterra is the world’s leading exporter of dairy products, but it is faced with using energy-intensive processes to turn milk into milk powder at a time of rising energy prices. University researchers Professor Peter Kamp, James Neale, Dr Michael Walmsley, and Martin Atkins have been joined by three PhD students to modify the dryers which dehydrate milk.
Some of the research is taking place in the factories, and some in the University’s large-scale engineering laboratory, using scale models.
Within the first year of the programme and as a result of the research, design changes have been implemented in four of Fonterra’s 74 dryers, with much scope to improve the energy performance of the remaining dryers as capital becomes available.
The University is building an externally-funded research team with high-level engineering expertise which has a particular focus on industrial energy efficiency and could help the wood, meat, steel and dairy industries make energy savings.
External funding gratefully acknowledged: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and Fonterra
ENERGY RESEARCH GROUP, FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING