McCain, Simplot and Lion to test renewable heating options

Image credit: ABC

A handful of FMCG manufacturing facilities in Australia have been deemed as suitable to test emerging technologies in the renewable energy space as part of a $900,500 project by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

McCain Foods in Ballarat, Simplot in Devonport and Lion’s brewing facility in Adelaide will test technologies with potential to optimise the application of process heat in manufacturing, while increasing the uptake of renewable energy.

Process heating accounts for the largest share of onsite energy use in Australian manufacturing and low temperature processes present the greatest opportunity for displacing fossil fueled heat with renewably powered alternatives, according to ARENA.

On Friday, ARENA announced government funding of $460,500 for the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) to investigate opportunities for using renewables in process heating in manufacturing.

“A2EP’s project aligns with what ARENA is aiming to achieve through its new investment priority in helping industry to reduce emissions by supplying case studies which can be replicated more widely,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said on Friday.

“There is significant potential to increase the application of renewable energy for process heating in manufacturing. By switching to renewable energy technologies, industries such as food and beverage processing can significantly reduce their reliance on traditional forms of energy and save money on their operating costs, thereby encouraging more companies to adopt this approach.”

A2EP CEO Jonathan Jutsen said Australia lags behind other economies in deployment of process heat technologies.

“There is great potential to be smarter about process heat. We waste a great deal of energy and we don’t take advantage of cost-effective renewables. There are literally thousands of businesses that could benefit from these ideas,” Jutsen said.

“With the support of ARENA, this feasibility work will identify opportunities for manufacturing businesses across Australia to transition to cost-effective renewable energy solutions tailored to their businesses that will reduce their emissions and energy costs,” he said.

Applications considered for testing include electrification with a focus on heat pumps powered by renewable electricity and direct renewable heating options including biomass/biogas.

Two more sites will be selected to take part, and a full feasibility study and business case will be completed by the end of the year. If successful, the projects will be eligible to apply for further ARENA grant funding to implement the renewable alternatives for energy generation.

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