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Clean Chicken Feet with Half the Water

Danish meat processor HKScan has found that saving water and energy is sometimes surprisingly easy. In its poultry abattoir business, the company has cut water consumption by 100 cubic metres a day on its chicken feet line, simply by reversing the water flow. A lower water temperature has also brought daily energy savings.

Chicken feet are big business. But, before the feet can be packed and exported, they are exposed to a lot of water, both to soften them so the skin can be removed and for cooling. In the past, clean water was used for every processing step and then sent to the factory’s wastewater treatment facility. Now, by pumping counter-clockwise, the water is moved from the clean cooling process to the earlier dirty processes.

The new approach cuts daily water usage on the chicken feet line by 50% and can lower the water temperature, saving EUR 100 a day

The new approach has cut daily water usage on the chicken feet line by 50%, equivalent to 7% of the factory’s overall water consumption. Furthermore, in the skin removal process, HKScan found that they could lower the water temperature from 55°C to 35°C at no expense to hygiene or product quality, cutting energy costs by EUR 100 a day.

For HKScan, their efficiency project has been a real eye-opener – and an inspiration for many other improvements, which are now underway.