Dairy manufacturer Emmi has commissioned an industrial solar thermal plant at its Langnau production site in Switzerland.
The system, from TVP Solar, is equipped with around 100 solar thermal collectors and converts sunlight into CO2-free heat.
The high-vacuum solar thermal collectors, distributed over 210m2 of roof space, generate heat efficiently and constantly throughout the year, producing some of the high-temperature process water required for the production of fondue, raclette and other cheese products at the Langnau site.
Gerold Schatt, head of group sustainability at Emmi, said: “The new solar thermal system reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, secures a portion of our energy supply and stabilises our energy costs. In this way, we can prevent bottlenecks in our energy supply and also contribute to climate protection.”
Installation of the solar thermal system puts Emmi on course for its net zero 2050 target and helps achieve the interim goal of reducing internal greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2027.
With this renewable thermal energy, Emmi expects to save around 21,000 litres of heating oil per year, while reducing CO2 emissions by 55 tonnes. Further benefits include lower costs per megawatt hour of thermal energy and less dependence on fossil fuels.
Piero Abbate, CEO of TVP Solar, said: “This pioneering project highlights the potential of solar thermal energy for industrial use in Switzerland and positions Emmi as a pioneer in emissions reduction. We are committed to helping local operators reduce their emissions and diversify their energy supply.”
The project was subsidised by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and supported by the Swiss Climate Foundation. Abbate added: “The SFOE played an important role in the implementation of the project. Even broader support from the federal government is needed to achieve faster and more widespread decarbonisation in Swiss companies.”
Engineering firm Planair ensured the project’s smooth operation. The firm identified the energy-intensive aspects of the manufacturing process and designed the plant to be optimised for environmental and economic benefits.
“Planair established the technical link between the TVP solar plant and Emmi’s existing facilities, allowing for seamless integration into the existing production processes and requirements at Emmi Langnau,” said François Bauer, CEO of Planair.
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