With the help of the government agency Carbon Trust, Heinz has identified and exploited opportunities to reduce energy use and emission at its factories in Kendal, Cumbria and Kitt Green, near Wigan.
The approach began with a detailed study of the production lines at the plants to better understand where and how energy was being used in order to determine where savings could be made.
Exploiting wasted heat
This research revealed that a great deal of energy was needed to heat cold water to rehydrate the dried beans, used to make the flagship Heinz Beanz product. Energy was also needed to create the steam that cooks the beans in their cans.
To reduce overall energy use from these two processes, Heinz and Carbon Trust therefore found a way of capturing and recycling the waste heat. Less energy is now needed to heat the water, leading to lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions.
To cut its energy bill further, Heinz has also improved the efficiency of its boilers and made design changes to production line machines.
As a result of all this work at its Kitt Green site, which Heinz said is the largest food processing complex in Europe, the company has eaten 13 per cent into annual energy costs.
Heinz has a target to reduce is global carbon emissions by 20 per cent from 2005 to 2015. To achieve this, the company to share the knowledge it has gained in the UK with its operations elsewhere in the world.
“As well as seeing some impressive results in the UK, we are successfully applying what we’ve learned across our global operations,” said Dave Woodward, president of Heinz UK and Ireland.
As the 2015 target approaches Heinz is also exploring opportunities to generate power from waste and increase its use of renewable energy.