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May 30, 2024

Valio’s new heat pump system in Seinäjoki factory promotes energy recycling

Valio Seinäjoki

A new modern heat pump system was commissioned at the Seinäjoki production plant at the beginning of 2024, with the aim of achieving annual savings of around 12-14 per cent in heating at the plant. In about six months of operation, the new system has produced about 5800 MWh of heat. This is enough to heat the water for a five-minute shower for 2.8 million people in Finland.

The new heat pump system replaces the old system that had reached the end of its useful life. The aim of the renewal was to improve the energy efficiency of the production plant and save on energy costs. The system has a maximum thermal output of 2.8 MW and a heat recovery capacity of about 2.2 MW. The amount of the investment is several million euros, and the project has been granted Business Finland’s energy support.

“The new heat pump system recovers heat from the cooling system of the milk evaporation process and from the condensing circuit of the factory’s refrigeration plant, reducing their electricity and water consumption. Four new heat pumps can reuse otherwise wasted energy flows. The heat pumps produce 80-degree water for the heating network, which is then distributed to more than 20 heating points or heat accumulators in the factory. This is energy recycling at its best,” says Valio’s Energy Specialist Jussi Jääskeläinen

The new heat pumps use ammonia as a refrigerant, which is also used in the Seinäjoki factory’s refrigeration plant. Ammonia has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of zero. It is therefore an environmentally friendly and natural refrigerant with good prospects for future use.

“The project is a good example of how electrification can improve energy efficiency,” Jääskeläinen adds.

The Seinäjoki factory produces, e.g., all Valio butters, Valio Oivariini® and Kevytlevi® spreads, quark, cottage cheese, Valio Profeel® quarks and puddings. In terms of products, the factory is one of Valio’s more diverse, and in terms of milk processing volume, it is one of the largest. The Valio producer laboratory operates in conjunction with the factory.