1. Can you introduce yourself please: what is your name and position/function in the company?
Ingeborg Peters, Global Petcare Technology Development Manager at Mars GmbH.
2. What are your products and who are your products´ buyers? To what extent would you say they care about environmental matters of production processes of your products?
Mars Incorporated is a family owned business with headquarters in MacLean, Virginia in US. As the sixth largest private owned corporation our portfolio includes a variety of global brands such as Mars, Twix, Uncle Ben´s, Dolmio, Klix, Flavia, Wrigley Gum, Sheba, PEDIGREE®, IAMS®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN® and BANFIELD®. We believe that sustainability topics will become a `must have´ entry point for our brands. Consumer expectation will rise from safe and healthy food products to products which are produced with having the full range of sustainability topics in mind.
3. What challenges are you currently facing in terms of energy?
Mars made a public commitment for energy, water and waste savings and achieving these commitments requires a range of projects and initiatives. Drying pet food kibbles is our processing stage that consumes the most energy and where currently drying units are fuelled with gas. After this stage, there is a huge amount of energy left in the hot air. That is the reason Mars Petcare joined the DryFiciency project.
4. What challenges are you currently facing in terms of energy-efficiency technology?
Mars operates more than 130 factories globally. Our factories are small but most of the energy- efficient technologies are business viable when in scale. Our factories are also spread across a number of geographical locations where, in some cases, there is a shortage of technical skills. But most heat pump solutions are highly technical loaded equipment. The challenge is to evolve energy efficient solutions into robust and easy-to-operate systems. Another persistent challenge also derives from the fact that food and feed industry mostly operates on a quasi-continuous base. This means the idle waste heat is occurring in batches and results in potential energy users not being synchronized with waste heat.
5. What is the motivation for installing DryFiciency industrial heat pumps in your plant?
Drying consumes most of the energy we use in Mars. And the DryFiciency project is an industry led consortium with the purpose to develop more energy efficient drying technology. With DryFiciency project we aim for 60 to 80 percent energy reduction for our drying operations and to save per individual drying unit the annual amount of gas used by 100 households in Germany. This a very ‘hot topic’ and an important step in our journey towards becoming 100% fossil fuel free operation by 2040 since we have more than 100 drying units in our plants worldwide. But this will however not happen overnight. In 2017, DryFiciency will have a prototype of a new compression heat pump ready which will then be tested operationally in a Mars Petcare plant in 2018. And by 2021, we expect a first production location with new and energy efficient dryers will be fully operational. At that stage the new technology will be gradually rolled out and we will start realizing significant energy savings. Indeed, DryFiciency is an exciting project with a lot of potential!