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Sara Lee

Sara Lee has been making a wide range of desserts using Australian produce for the past 40 years. Throughout its history, the production facility in Lisarow, NSW has operated several food production and processing lines, including bakery, fruit processing and frozen food production. The consists of two separate ammonia refrigeration plants – one with only spiral coolers, and one with spiral coolers, blast freezers and freezer stores.

Previous improvments

Minus40 has been working with Sara Lee since 2010 to implement a series efficiency improvements and safety upgrades. This has resulted in achieve energy savings of 10-30%.

The biggest improvements came through optimising load distribution between the site’s multiple compressors. There are four high-stage and four low-stage compressors in plant room 2, and a further three compressors in plant room 1.
Previous improvements

Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) had already been installed for some of the compressors, but others still used slide control. This type of control is only efficient when the compressor is operating at 100% capacity. Installing compressor staging and capacity control provided a worthwhile energy saving by ensuring that compressors are each being operated at their maximum efficiency at all loads.

New recommendations

In 2012, Minus40 recommended improvements for further energy savings. The recommendations led to a Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP) grant being awarded in 2013. This included expanding on the compressor staging and capacity control and variable head pressure control in both plant rooms, as well as fan speed control for the condensers in plant room 1, and for the evaporators in plant room 2.

Variable speed drives and other control devices needed to be monitored throughout the Sara Lee plant. This involved installing sensors at some locations, and connecting all sensors to the PLC. Some pressure and temperature sensors also needed to be connected to the PLC via transmitters.

Refrigeration Plant No. 1:

  • Installation of VSD for evaporative condenser No. 2
  • Replacement of electric motor for compressor No. 1
  • Installation of VSD for compressor No. 1 (removed from compressor No. 4 of refrigeration plant No. 2)
  • Implementation of VHPC (variable head pressure control) and CSCC (compressor staging and capacity control) logic

 Refrigeration Plant No. 2:

  • Installation of a new automatic air/water purger
  • Replacement of electrical motor for compressor No. 5, No. 6 and No.8
  • Installation of high stage screw compressor economising package and upgrading of existing undersized pipe-work
  • Installation of VSDs for freezer store evaporator fan coil units
  • Implementation of VHPC, CSCC for both high stage and low stage compressors, EFSC (evaporator fan speed control)


Office of Environment and Heritage

Culture and heritage

Culture is a way of understanding and living in the world. Heritage is the environment, objects and places that we inherit from the past and pass on to future generations to use, learn from and be inspired by. Together these frame our understanding of the past and influence the decisions we make about what is worth keeping. The Office of Environment and Heritage, in partnership with our government agencies and Aboriginal people, has a role in protecting and promoting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal culture and heritage environments of NSW.

Environmental issues

The NSW community is faced with many significant issues due to the demands placed on our environment. Education, compliance and regulation all play a part in improving our environment. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) works together with the NSW community to help protect the environment. OEH has a regulatory role in relation to biodiversity, Aboriginal cultural heritage, waters and rivers, wildlife management and native vegetation and continues to undertake active programs to contain and reduce soil degradation and invasive pests and weeds. The Environment Protection Authorityexternal link (EPA) focuses on minimising pollution and any risks to human health associated with use of hazardous materials, pesticides and waste, and on improving water quality, reducing the impacts of waste, air emissions and noise and regulating our forest activities.


Prepare NSW for unavoidable changes in our climate

NSW 2021: A plan to make NSW number one includes a target to minimise the impacts of climate change in local communities.

The Government has worked with the ACT Government and the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW to provide local-scale projections of future changes in temperature, rainfall and other climate variables for the whole of NSW and the ACT. These fine-scale projections will help local government, business and the community to build resilience in the face of future extreme events and hazards by helping them to understand the impacts of climate change in their local areas.

By understanding climate impacts, the community, business and government can better manage risk and take actions to adapt.

OEH’s climate change adaptation programs  are aimed at building the resilience of the State's natural environment, economy and communities by:helping communities adapt (including assessing regional communities’ vulnerability)

  • preparing for the impacts of climate change
  • protecting ecosystems and natural resources
  • managing water resources.

The NSW Adaptation Research Hub researches the best adaptation responses for NSW under the themes of coasts, biodiversity and communities.

To understand some of the risks, the NSW Climate Impact Profile provides an assessment of projected biophysical changes across the State. The profile has helped decision-makers with their planning and response strategies.

In the NSW 2021 Regional Action Plans there are also 19 related commitments for the delivery of climate information and the identification of opportunities to increase resilience in local communities.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in NSW

The NSW Government is working to deliver economically efficient and environmentally effective policies and programs that do not duplicate initiatives of the Australian Government. They include:

  • understanding NSW emissions
  • providing financial support through the Climate Change Fund
  •  promoting energy efficiency
  • promoting clean and renewable energy
  • promoting soil carbon sequestration


NSW 2021 sets goals and targets that support practical action to tackle climate change. They include:20% renewable energy by 2020

  • help for businesses and households to realise annual energy savings of 16,000 gigawatt-hours by 2020 compared with ‘business as usual’ trends
  • support for 220,000 low-income households to reduce their energy use by up to 20% by June 2014
  • an increase in the share of commuter trips made by public transport, including increasing the proportion of journeys made to work by public transport in the Sydney Metropolitan Region to 28% of the total by 2016
  • targets to increase walking and cycling
  • planning policy to encourage job growth in centres close to where people live and to provide access by public transport.

The NSW Government has outlined a series of plans and strategies to deliver these goals and targets. They include the Renewable Energy Action Plan, the NSW Energy Efficiency Action Plan, the Long Term Transport Master Plan and the draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney.

In July 2014, the NSW Government launched the Government Resource Efficiency Plan (GREP) to reduce the environmental impacts of its departments and improve departmental cost-efficiency.
NSW Climate Change Council

The NSW Climate Change Council provides independent, expert advice to OEH on matters relevant to the NSW Government's response to climate change.

Swire Cold Storage

Swire Cold Storage is part of the global Swire Group (which includes Cathay Pacific and Swire Pacific) and is, together with its sister company United States Cold Storage, one of the largest cold storage operators in the world. The Swire Group has been in Australia since the early 19th century operating in the fields of specialised transport, agricultural farming and shipping

Energy audit

Minus40 carried out an energy audit at Swire’s Cold Storage’s Lurnea Warehouse, evaluating several energy savings opportunities at the refrigeration plant. The audit was subsidised by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage through its Energy Saver Program. OEH contributed 70% of the audit’s total cost.

Opportunities for improvement

One of the opportunities investigated by Minus40 was automated compressor staging and speed capacity control of the large rotary screw compressors.

Unloaded operation by slide valve modulated screw compressors is one of the large causes of inefficiency at industrial refrigeration plants. At the Swire Cold Storage site in Lurnea, it was observed that the compressors would frequently run unloaded throughout the cooler months of the year, resulting in significant inefficiencies.

By installing variable speed drives and correctly programming the compressor staging and capacity control logic to avoid compressor unloading via slide valve control, significant improvement in system efficiency can be expected. The energy audit highlighted the opportunity for sensible capital investment and the project was implemented.

As well as carrying out the initial energy audit, Minus40 was engaged to verify the savings from the project, a necessary step in order to apply for Energy Saving Certificates (ESC’s). It was shown that the electricity consumption was reduced by 786 MWh per annum. Subsequent application for ESC’s allowed recapturing some of the initial project capital investment.


Want to learn how to reduce energy costs on  your commercial cold storage and display cabinets?The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage has developed a brand new, half day course on Commercial

The M40 team at Foodtech QLD after a successful 3 days.

 Energy, in the form of electricity and gas, is one of the largest business costs in the food sector.

Foodtech Qld is the new trade event for the food and beverage manufacturing industry in Queensland.  The show will be held in Queensland from 26-28 June at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition

Take a look at the February edition of Ecolibrium, where the recent AIRAH awards were featured and Inga Doemland of Minus40 made an appearance for winning 2015 Student of the year.