Geelen Counterflow has started the engineering and manufacturing of the second electric dryer for extruded petfood, to be installed in 2021 in China. High temperature industrial heat pumps will supply 2400 kW of heat to a 7 deck counterflow dryer and 65 percent of that heat will be recovered and re-used in the dryer. The first electric dryer is being assembled in South Korea for another customer and will be commissioned in 2021.
From gas to electricity
Both electric dryers will initially be commissioned with gas burners. This allows installation and commissioning according to standard operating procedure. A few months later, once the dryers are up and running, the Counterflow Recovery Units (CRU) will be commissioned to start recovering energy through condensation of the warm moist air coming out of the dryer.
The warm water coming from this CRU will be boosted in temperature by high temperature industrial heat pumps which will supply 100 percent of the heat for the dryer, so then the gas burners can be switched off or go in stand-by mode. The net energy consumption of the dryer will then be up to 65 percent lower and consist of electricity only.
If the electricity is from renewable sources, the direct and indirect CO2 emissions of the dryer can be eliminated. Since dryers are by far the biggest consumers of gas in the plant, this typically reduces the CO2 footprint of the entire production line by more than 50 percent. Geelen Counterflow started developing this technology in 2014. It was tested and approved on pilot scale in a commercial petfood plant during 2016. Since then, full scale components have been developed and tested and the technology has been on the market since 2018.
It is no coincidence that Geelen’s first electric dryers will be installed in the petfood industry. The market leaders in this industry have short term ambitious targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in order to comply with the Paris climate agreement. Electrification through heat pumps is the only technology that enables not only the elimination of CO2 emissions from dryers but also a big improvement in energy efficiency.
The majority of new dryers installed by Geelen for extruded petfood and aquafeed are now of the latest MkIV generation, which means they are prepared for either gas-burners and/or electric heat pumps. Plants that now install dryers with only gas burners can upgrade them to heat pumps and heat exchangers with a minimum of downtime.
A flowsheet and more details of the process can be found in the Youtube video that was made to demonstrate the installation.