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Ammonia Plant

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Rivalea Energy Efficiency Upgrade

Rivalea is an Australian agri-food company based in Corowa NSW, with activities in feed milling, livestock production and meat processing..

The processing facility uses an ammonia refrigeration plant, which initially had an annual power consumption of 5.164 GWh. There were numerous opportunities for energy savings identified by Minus40 at Rivalea. Some of these were implemented in early 2013, with estimates of a 10-30% energy saving for the refrigeration plant. The improvements are outlined in this study.

Project Details

Compressors produce a lot of heat – heat which is wasted in typical refrigeration plants. On a meat processing site such as Rivalea, there is high demand for hot water, including wash-down water. At these sites, the “waste heat” is valuable.

To recover the heat, it was necessary to install a high stage discharge desuperheater, and also heat recovery oil coolers onto two high stage screw compressors. Only two of the compressors operate for long enough periods to make heat recovery feasible.

The solution uses two stages of heat recovery; first the water is fed through the discharge gas desuperheater, and then it is fed through the oil coolers for further heating.

Variable speed drives for fans and compressors were added so that motors were run only to the power required, rather than always running at full power. Monitoring was installed for all variable speed drives.

The Rivalea upgrade project benefitted from the Minus40 whole-of-project expertise to attract the following benefits:

  • NSW Government Energy Saver Program – this covered part of the cost of the initial audit, which established the feasibility of the resulting upgrade.
  • Low Carbon Australia (now Clean Energy Finance Corporation) – this provided low-cost financing for the upgrade work.
  • AusIndustry Clean Technology Investment Program – a co-contribution towards the upgrade.

MINUS40 Project Services

MINUS40 assisted Rivalea with the following project services:

  • Project identification, conceptual design and feasibility study
  • Detailed engineering design
  • Provision of functional descriptions for plant control logic
  • Tender specification preparation
  • Tender management process
  • CTIP grant application assistance
  • Project measurement and verification (upon project completion)

Project Funding

Throughout the project, MINUS40 assisted Rivalea in acquiring the following financial project assistance:

  • OEH Energy Saver Program: Subsidised 70% of feasibility study
  • Clean Technology Investment Program: $268,810 CTIP Grant

GM Scott

GM Scott is a privately owned meat processor based in Cootamundra, New South Wales. Established in 1952, it now employs 200 staff, making it Cootamundra's largest employer.

The abattoir processes 3,500 lambs and 200 cattle daily. It's gas-flushed, cryovac sealed lamb products are sold into export and domestic markets, while its fresh beef and lamb are produced under the Noble Farm brand. The factory also processes boneless legs of lamb and frenched racks for NSW Woolworths supermarkets.

Project Details

The current refrigeration systems at GM Scott consist of a newly-built ammonia plant and a separate plant operating on R-404a refriferant. The ammonia refrigeration plant consists of a single stage arrangement for the medium temperature loads and an economised across line arrangement for the low temperature loads.

The plant serves various chiller rooms, the load out, plate freezers and a freezer store. The R-404a refrigeration plant operates in a single stage economised arrangement and provides cooling to other chiller rooms, a carton chiller and a packing and boning room.

MINUS40 proposed the implementation of the following energy efficiency upgrades for the ammonia and R-404a refrigeration plants:

  • Ammonia Plant - Variable Head Pressure Control: The installation of condenser fan VSD's and implementation of an intelligent control logic varies the refrigeration plant's head pressure set-point to minimise the total plant's power consumption as a function of plant load and ambient conditions. An additional advantage is that it stabilises the plant's operation.
  • Both Plants - Evaporator Fan Speed Control: The evaporator fans in both freezer rooms and carcass chillers are fitted with VSD's and a suitable speed control logic is implemented. The control logic was specifically designed for each room, in an effort to minimise fan speeds without compromising production and meat quality. Lowered fan speeds significantly reduce fan power consumption and reduce the overall heat load in the room.

MINUS40 Project Services

MINUS40 assisted GM Scott with the following project services:

  • Project identification, conceptual design and feasibility study
  • Provision of functional descriptions for plant control logic
  • Work scope documentation preparation
  • Tender management process
  • CTIP grant application assistance
  • LCA funding application assistance
  • Project measurement and verification (upon project completion)

Project Funding

Throughout the project, MINUS40 assisted GM Scott in acquiring the following financial project assistance:

  • OEH Energy Saver Program: Subsidised 70% of feasibility study
  • Clean Technology Investment Program: $85,373 CTIP Grant
  • Low Carbon Australia: Additional LCA-supported loan

Crafty Chef

Through the implementation of a new freezing process, Crafty Chef, a Western Sydney Food manufacturer, will be able to double the current production levels with a significantly more efficient system.

Project Details

Prior to this project, Crafty Chef's blast freezing systems consisted of commercial air-cooled refrigeration systems running on R-507 refrigerant. A significant capacity increase of the system was required as the production levels of the facility were doubling.

Minus40 analysed several opportunities to increase system capacity whilst increasing the energy efficiency of the plant. Based on the results of this study, the decision was made to replace the existing commercial systems with an industrial spiral freezer system running on ammonia (R-717) refrigerant.

The proposed system incorporated the following features:

  • Ammonia Refrigerant: Being an environmentally benign and highly efficient refrigerant, the system is able to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, indirectly through reduced energy consumption and directly through the mitigation of R-507 refrigerant leakage (R-507 is a very strong greenhouse gas).
  • Speed Controlled Industrial Screw Compressor: With the installation of a VSD on the compressor motor and the implementation of the appropriate control logic, the system is able to achieve a high system efficiency, even in part-load operation.
  • Variable Head Pressure Control Logic: Through condenser fan speed control and optimisation of the head pressure set-point in function of ambient conditions and system load, the system takes advantage of low load and ambient temperatures to reduce energy consumption.
  • Heat Recovery System: Heat is recovered off screw compressor oil and used to preheat water going into existing boilers.
  • Evaporator Fan Speed Control: Allows total air flow control to control product cooling and reduce fan energy consumption.
  • Spiral Freezing System: The spiral freezing process allows for increased capacity, continuous production and consistent product quality.
  • Evaporative condenser: Evaporative condensers significantly reduce energy consumption and demand compared to air-cooled systems.

Minus40's Project Services

Throughout the project, Minus40 assisted Crafty Chef with the following:

  • Feasibility study, including data monitoring, system modelling and business case development
  • Engineering support and project management during installation
  • Technical verification of contractor installation
  • Supply of functional description for plant control logic
  • LCA Funding and CTIP Grant applications (see below)
  • Energy measurement and verification (upon project completion)

Project Funding

Minus40 assisted Crafty Chef in sourcing funding for the $1.12 million project from several Government Programs:

  • OEH Energy Saver Program: Subsidised 70% of feasibility study
  • Clean Technology Investment Program: $500,000 CTIP Grant
  • Low Carbon Australia: Additional LCA-supported loan

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