Food and drink processors can achieve savings of up to 30 per cent on their water and effluent bills
Friday 30 July 2010Food and drink processors can achieve savings of up to 30 per cent on their water and effluent bills without even having to resort to major capital investments.
That is the claim of Stuart Ballinger, a water specialist at AEA Technology, which runs the Rippleffect water efficiency programme on behalf of WRAP in the UK.
In an interview for the second part of a special edition on plant efficiency, Ballinger explained how food and drink processors can achieve big savings on a budget.
The first stage is to map water usage to establish how much is coming in, how much is going out and where it is being used.
Using a water balance technique, companies can establish whether what is coming in from the mains supply or other sources matches the amount coming out through product, effluent and evaporation.
Ballinger said there is no need to go overboard at this stage and that accounting for 90 per cent of water use is a pretty good start.
Once the measurements have been taken, the next step is to do the accounting to check that outputs match inputs. If there is a major discrepancy that could suggest that there are leaks that need to be dealt with.
The data from the measurement stage will also give companies insight into areas of highest usage so they can draw up an action plan for water reduction.
At a food and drink plant, Ballinger said that, generally speaking, processing and equipment cleaning accounts for more than half of water usage with other significant elements being cooling towers and the boiler house. Comparatively speaking, office areas only account for a tiny amount of water.
Relative usage varies significantly depending on the manufacturer so for example, a meat processor uses large amounts of water for cleaning while a soft drinks manufacturer sees a lot of water going into products.