Unlock Industrial Decarbonisation: Guide for Food & Beverage

Unlock Industrial Decarbonisation Guide for Food & Beverage

The impact of the food and beverage industry on our planet’s environment is vast and significant. With its activities accounting for an impressive slice of global greenhouse gas emissions, it exceeds even the combined emissions from all modes of global transportation. And that’s not all: the food and beverage industry also consumes half of the world’s habitable land, 70% of global freshwater withdrawals, and causes 78% of global ocean and freshwater eutrophication. Eutrophication is the pollution of waterways with nutrient-rich water that leads to algal blooms and oxygen depletion.

These staggering figures show that the food and beverage industry has a huge environmental impact and a key role to play in mitigating climate change and protecting natural resources. But how can food and beverage companies reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable? One of the most effective strategies is to adopt industrial decarbonisation measures in their facilities.

Industrial decarbonisation is the process of reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes, such as heating, cooling, lighting, or machinery. It can be achieved by improving energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, using low-carbon fuels, capturing and storing carbon dioxide, or redesigning products and processes. Industrial decarbonisation can bring multiple benefits to the environment, society, and economy, such as saving costs, enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, improving health, and increasing resilience.

However, industrial decarbonisation is not a simple or straightforward task. It involves many challenges and opportunities that vary depending on the type, size, location, and product of each food and beverage facility. It also requires a systematic and holistic approach that considers multiple factors and criteria, such as technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental impact, social acceptability, policy support, etc.

That’s why we have created this comprehensive and practical guide on how to implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities. In this guide, we will:

  • Define industrial decarbonisation and its benefits for the food and beverage sector
  • Identify the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector
  • Present a step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities

By following this guide, you will be able to transform your food and beverage facility into a low-carbon and sustainable operation that contributes to a greener and healthier planet. Let’s get started!

Define industrial decarbonisation and its benefits for the food and beverage sector

Before we dive into the details of how to implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities, let’s first clarify what we mean by industrial decarbonisation and why it matters for the food and beverage sector.

What is industrial decarbonisation?

Industrial decarbonisation is the process of reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes, such as heating, cooling, lighting, or machinery. It can be achieved by improving energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, using low-carbon fuels, capturing and storing carbon dioxide, or redesigning products and processes.

Industrial decarbonisation is not the same as other terms such as energy efficiency or carbon neutrality. Energy efficiency means using less energy to perform the same task, while carbon neutrality means balancing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted with the amount removed from the atmosphere. Industrial decarbonisation can contribute to both energy efficiency and carbon neutrality, but it also involves changing the type and source of energy used in industrial processes.

Industrial decarbonisation is also different from the decarbonisation of industry, which refers to reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the entire industrial sector, including both direct emissions from industrial processes and indirect emissions from electricity generation and transportation. Industrial decarbonisation is a subset of the decarbonisation of industry, focusing on the direct emissions from industrial processes.

Why is industrial decarbonisation important for the food and beverage sector?

The food and beverage sector is one of the most important and diverse sectors in the global economy, producing a wide range of products that are essential for human nutrition and well-being. However, the food and beverage sector is also one of the most energy-intensive and carbon-emitting sectors, accounting for over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The majority of emissions in the food and beverage value chain originate from agriculture and associated land-use practices and livestock. However, industrial processes such as processing, packaging, refrigeration, and distribution also contribute significantly to emissions. For example, food processing alone accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing emissions from industrial processes in the food and beverage sector is therefore crucial for mitigating climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to a recent report by McKinsey, achieving net-zero emissions in the food system by 2050 would require reducing emissions from industrial processes by 75%.

Industrial decarbonisation can also bring multiple benefits to the food and beverage sector beyond environmental impact. These benefits include:

  • Saving costs by reducing energy consumption and waste
  • Enhancing competitiveness by improving product quality and innovation
  • Creating jobs by stimulating new markets and technologies
  • Improving health by reducing air pollution and food-borne diseases
  • Increasing resilience by diversifying energy sources and reducing dependence on fossil fuels

Industrial decarbonisation can therefore create value for the food and beverage sector while contributing to a greener and healthier planet. In the next section, we will explore the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector.

Identify the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector

Industrial decarbonisation is not only a technical challenge, but also a socio-economic one. It involves changing the way food and beverage companies operate, invest, innovate, and interact with their stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to understand the key drivers and barriers that motivate or hinder food and beverage companies to adopt industrial decarbonisation measures.

Drivers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector

There are several factors that can drive food and beverage companies to pursue industrial decarbonisation, such as:

  • Policy frameworks: Government policies can create incentives or obligations for food and beverage companies to reduce their emissions, such as carbon taxes, emission trading schemes, subsidies, standards, regulations, etc. For example, food and beverage facilities with greater than 20 MW of installed thermal capacity in the EU are in the EU Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% relative to 2005 by 2030.
  • Market incentives: Market forces can also encourage food and beverage companies to adopt industrial decarbonisation measures, such as increasing energy prices, decreasing technology costs, growing consumer demand, or enhancing competitive advantage. For example, many food and beverage companies are already committed to working with their suppliers in the value chain to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Consumer preferences: Consumer awareness and preferences can influence food and beverage companies to improve their environmental performance and reputation, as consumers may prefer products that are low-carbon, organic, fair-trade, etc. For example, a recent survey found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
  • Technological innovation: Technological innovation can enable food and beverage companies to access new or improved industrial decarbonisation measures that can reduce emissions, increase efficiency, or create new products or services. For example, food processing can benefit from advanced reactions, catalysts, reactor systems, electrification of heat, mechanical vapour recompression, etc.

Barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector

There are also several factors that can hinder food and beverage companies from adopting industrial decarbonisation measures, such as:

  • Technical feasibility: Technical feasibility refers to the availability and suitability of industrial decarbonisation measures for different food processes and products. Some industrial decarbonisation measures may not be compatible with existing equipment or infrastructure or may require significant changes to process design or operation. For example, switching to renewable energy sources may pose challenges to reliability or quality of energy supply.
  • Economic viability: Economic viability refers to the costs and benefits of industrial decarbonisation measures for food and beverage companies. Some industrial decarbonisation measures may have high upfront capital costs, long payback periods, low profitability, or uncertain returns on investment. For example, capturing and storing carbon dioxide may be expensive and risky for some food and beverage facilities.
  • Environmental impact: Environmental impact refers to the potential trade-offs or co-benefits of industrial decarbonisation measures for other environmental aspects, such as water use, waste generation, land use, biodiversity, etc. Some industrial decarbonisation measures may have negative or positive impacts on other environmental dimensions that need to be considered. For example, using biomass as a fuel or feedstock may have implications for land use or deforestation.
  • Social acceptability: Social acceptability refers to the perceptions and attitudes of stakeholders towards industrial decarbonisation measures in the food and beverage sector. Some industrial decarbonisation measures may face resistance or opposition from employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, communities, etc. For example, using hydrogen as a fuel or feedstock may raise safety or security concerns.

In the next section, we will present a step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities.

Present a step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities

Now that we have defined industrial decarbonisation and its benefits for the food and beverage sector, and identified the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector, we are ready to present a step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities.

The approach we propose is based on a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method, which is a systematic and transparent way of comparing and prioritizing different options based on multiple criteria, such as economic, environmental, technical, social, etc. MCDA can help food and beverage companies to evaluate the performance and trade-offs of various industrial decarbonisation measures and select the most suitable ones for their specific context and goals.

The approach consists of six steps, as shown in the figure below:

We will explain each step in more detail below.

Step 1: Decarbonisation technology analysis

The first step is to identify and analyze the potential industrial decarbonisation technologies that can be applied to different food processes and products. These technologies can include:

  • Energy efficiency measures, such as improving insulation, optimizing process control, reducing heat losses, etc.
  • Electrification of heat, such as using electric boilers, heat pumps, mechanical vapour recompression (MVR), etc.
  • Renewable energy sources, such as solar thermal, biomass, biogas, wind, hydro, etc.
  • Low-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, biofuels, synthetic fuels, etc.
  • Carbon capture, such as using chemical absorption, membrane separation, adsorption, etc.

For each technology, the following aspects should be analyzed:

  • Technical feasibility: The availability and suitability of the technology for different food processes and products
  • Economic viability: The costs and benefits of the technology for food and beverage companies
  • Environmental impact: The potential trade-offs or co-benefits of the technology for other environmental aspects
  • Social acceptability: The perceptions and attitudes of stakeholders towards the technology

The analysis can be based on literature review, expert consultation, case studies, or other sources of information.

Step 2: Pathway creation

The second step is to create different decarbonisation pathways by combining different technologies for different food processes and products. A decarbonisation pathway is a set of industrial decarbonisation measures that can be implemented at a food and beverage facility to reduce its emissions.

The pathway creation can be based on logical combinations of technologies that are compatible with each other and with the existing equipment or infrastructure. For example, a possible pathway for a dairy processing facility could be:

This pathway means that the facility would use a boiler to generate steam for heating purposes, a CHP system to generate electricity from the waste heat of the boiler, an ORC system to generate electricity from the waste heat of the CHP system, and an MVR system to compress low-pressure vapour into high-pressure vapour for evaporation purposes.

The number and variety of pathways can vary depending on the complexity and diversity of the food processes and products at the facility. The pathways should cover a range of emission reduction levels from low to high.

Step 3: Decarbonisation pathway analysis

The third step is to analyze the performance of each decarbonisation pathway based on multiple criteria. The criteria can include:

  • Net present value (NPV): The difference between the present value of cash inflows and outflows over a given period
  • Payback period: The time required for an investment to recover its initial cost
  • Levelised cost of abatement (LCOA): The average cost per unit of emission reduction over a given period
  • CAPEX spend per mass of CO2eq saved: The capital expenditure required per unit of emission reduction achieved by a pathway

The analysis can be based on data collection, modelling, simulation, or other methods of estimation. The analysis should also consider the uncertainties and risks associated with each pathway, such as technical failures, market fluctuations, policy changes, etc.

Step 4: Criteria weighting

The fourth step is to assign weights to each criterion according to their relative importance for the decision-making process. The weights can reflect the preferences and goals of the food and beverage company, as well as the drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector.

The weighting can be done using different methods, such as equal weighting, ranking, rating, pairwise comparison, etc. The weighting can also be done using different perspectives, such as economic focus, environmental focus, subjective weights of facility management, etc.

The weights should sum up to one for each perspective.

Step 5: Application of deterministic MCDA

The fifth step is to apply a deterministic MCDA method to rank the decarbonisation pathways based on their weighted scores for each criterion. A deterministic MCDA method assumes that the values of the criteria are known and fixed.

There are different types of deterministic MCDA methods, such as additive value models, outranking methods, goal programming methods, etc. The choice of the method depends on the characteristics and preferences of the decision problem.

For example, an additive value model can be used to calculate the total score of each pathway by multiplying the value of each criterion by its weight and summing up the results. The pathways can then be ranked from highest to lowest score.

Step 6: Application of stochastic MCDA

The sixth step is to apply a stochastic MCDA method to account for the uncertainties and risks associated with each decarbonisation pathway. A stochastic MCDA method assumes that the values of the criteria are uncertain and variable.

There are different types of stochastic MCDA methods, such as Monte Carlo simulation, fuzzy logic, robust optimization, etc. The choice of the method depends on the nature and sources of uncertainty in the decision problem.

For example, a Monte Carlo simulation can be used to generate random values for each criterion based on their probability distributions and calculate the total score of each pathway using an additive value model. The simulation can be repeated many times to obtain the expected value and variance of each pathway’s score. The pathways can then be ranked based on their expected value or risk-adjusted value.

The results of the deterministic and stochastic MCDA methods can be compared and analyzed to identify the most suitable decarbonisation pathways for the food and beverage facility. The results can also be presented in a visual or tabular form to facilitate communication and discussion among stakeholders.

This concludes our step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities. We hope this guide has been useful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know.

Conclusion

In this guide, we have presented a comprehensive and practical overview of industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector. We have defined industrial decarbonisation and its benefits for the food and beverage sector, identified the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector, and presented a step-by-step approach to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in food and beverage facilities.

We hope this guide has been useful and informative for you. If you are interested in learning more about industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector, we recommend you check out some of the resources or sources of information listed in the FAQ section. You can also contact us by sending an email to [email protected] for more information or feedback on this guide.

Industrial decarbonisation is not only a technical challenge, but also a socio-economic one. It involves changing the way food and beverage companies operate, invest, innovate, and interact with their stakeholders. It also requires collaboration and coordination among different actors, such as policymakers, researchers, technology providers, consumers, etc.

Industrial decarbonisation is not only a necessity but also an opportunity. It can create value for the food and beverage sector while contributing to a greener and healthier planet. It can also inspire innovation and transformation in the food system as a whole.

We invite you to join us in this journey towards a low-carbon and sustainable future for the food and beverage sector.

FAQ

What is industrial decarbonisation?

Industrial decarbonisation refers to strategies aimed at reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes such as heating, cooling, lighting, or machinery. This is achieved through several means, including improving energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy sources, using low-carbon fuels, capturing and storing carbon dioxide, or redesigning products and processes.

Why is industrial decarbonisation important for the food and beverage sector?

The food and beverage sector is highly energy-intensive and a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, decarbonising industrial processes in this sector is vital for climate change mitigation and adherence to the Paris Agreement. Besides environmental considerations, industrial decarbonisation can enhance cost-effectiveness, competitiveness, job creation, health standards, and resilience in this sector.

What are the key drivers and barriers for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector?

Several factors influence the adoption of decarbonisation measures within the food and beverage industry, including policy frameworks, market incentives, consumer preferences, technological innovation, technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental impacts, and societal acceptance.

What are some examples of industrial decarbonisation measures that can be applied to different food processes and products?

Measures for industrial decarbonisation in the food industry include improving energy efficiency, electrifying heat processes, utilising renewable energy sources, employing low-carbon fuels, and implementing carbon capture techniques.

How can food and beverage companies assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in their facilities?

Companies can leverage a methodical approach, such as the multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method, to assess and implement decarbonisation measures. This process entails analysing potential technologies, creating and assessing decarbonisation pathways, weighting each criterion’s importance, and applying deterministic and stochastic MCDA to account for uncertainties and risks.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of using MCDA for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector?

MCDA offers systematic comparison and prioritization of options, incorporates stakeholder perspectives, identifies trade-offs and synergies, and facilitates stakeholder communication. However, challenges include data collection and estimation for each criterion, handling uncertainties and risks, and the fact that it may not encompass all aspects of the decision-making process.

What are some of the best practices or recommendations for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector?

Best practices for industrial decarbonisation include conducting thorough carbon audits, setting clear decarbonisation goals, engaging stakeholders, monitoring and reporting progress, and seeking external support or collaboration.

What are some of the current or emerging trends or innovations for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector?

Current trends and innovations include the digitalization and automation of food processes, circular economy and waste valorization, alternative proteins and plant-based foods, carbon labelling and certification, and carbon pricing and trading.

How can I contact you for more information or feedback on this guide?

For further information or feedback on this guide, please reach us via email at info@enertherm-engineering.com we appreciate your interest and welcome your input.

EnerTherm Engineering: Your partner for industrial decarbonisation in the food and beverage sector

Are you ready to take your food and beverage facility to the next level of energy efficiency and carbon reduction? Do you want to save costs, enhance competitiveness, create jobs, improve health, and increase resilience? Do you need expert guidance and support to assess and implement industrial decarbonisation measures in your facility?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need EnerTherm Engineering. We are a leading engineering consultancy firm specialising in industrial decarbonisation solutions for the food and beverage sector. We have the experience, knowledge, and tools to help you achieve your decarbonisation goals and targets.

We offer a range of services, such as:

  • Carbon audit and baseline assessment
  • Decarbonisation technology analysis and selection
  • Decarbonisation pathway creation and evaluation
  • Multi-criteria decision analysis and optimization
  • Project management and implementation
  • Monitoring and reporting

We work with you every step of the way, from planning to execution, to ensure that your industrial decarbonisation project is successful and sustainable. We also provide training and education to your staff and stakeholders to ensure that they are fully engaged and informed.

Don’t wait any longer. Contact us today for a free consultation and quote. Let us help you transform your food and beverage facility into a low-carbon and high-performance one. Let us help you make a difference for your business and the planet.

Francois Pierrel
Francois Pierrel
Hi, my name is François and I am passionate about solving process engineering problems. Over the years, I have developed a number of process equipment and control systems which have had a significant impact on reducing energy usage, waste and impact on the environment. My business ethos is to always get to the root cause of problems and data analysis and modelling are always at the forefront of any project we undertake.

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