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Heat pumps deliver an energy-saving milestone

Spray drying accounts for up to 70 percent of the energy requirements in milk powder processing. Until recently, all the heat that goes into the process was released as low-temperature waste. Now GEA has come up with a solution to utilise this heat, reducing fuel consumption and related carbon emissions.

One of the world’s largest food system suppliers, GEA has based its business unit for powder and thermal separation technologies in Denmark. Here, the specialised design team has developed the new air heating system – GEA AddCool – to recover low-temperature waste heat from exhaust air and cooling processes.

GEA AddCool uses high-temperature heat pumps to capture and upgrade the heat, which is then used to pre-warm air to 120°C before it is fed into the spray-drying process. Because it is an add-on system, retrofitting to existing spray dryers is simple. Production throughput and powder quality are unchanged.

Air heating system cuts fuel consumption and emissions by more than 50 percent

GEA’s patent-pending solution is the result of a five-year collaborative development project involving experts in engineering, heat pumps, spray drying and powder processing. For powder manufacturers, GEA AddCool is an energy-saving milestone that cuts heating needs, costs, and carbon footprint.