Saint Jean, a French pasta manufacturer since 1935, is an organisation today employing more than 450 people across 5 manufacturing plants located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France. Focusing on quality and growth, the company has been growing steadily and reached a turnover of 83 million euros in 2020. Following that milestone, Saint Jean has committed to growing its organization further to reach 150 million euros in turnover in 2030. Preserving its unique know how in pasta manufacturing, the company believes in all technology innovation that can contribute to the growth of their operations.
In 2022, Sean Jean facility managers were looking for a temporary 150kW cooling capacity to cover the additional summer load in one of their plants. What started as a typical project, evolved into a game-changing approach to industrial heating, changing the mindset that has placed heating and cooling in separate silos.
During the site visit meant to evaluate the plant’s cooling needs, Trane Rental Services team analysed Saint Jean’s overall cooling and heating demands. The plant needed cold water temperatures of -8°C/-4°C and hot water temperatures of 60°C/55°C.
The Trane team was familiar with Saint Jean’s efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their operations. Knowing to look at the cooling and heating systems as a whole, instead of recommending an additional chiller to satisfy the temporary cooling needs, the engineers proposed a new heat pump solution that would not only deliver the additional cooling capacity Saint Jean managers were looking for, but also completely replace the plant’s 300kW fossil-fuelled boiler heating system – generating significant energy savings in return.
Following a detailed analysis of the heat requirements, the team installed two Trane City™ RTSF water-to-water heat pumps, connecting them with the plant’s existing chillers, which allowed to harness the waste heat that typically gets lost to atmosphere during cooling process. The new renewable energy heating set up offered the manufacturer new opportunities to lower their energy consumption and associated costs.
During the four months of rental operations, the calculations showed that thanks to shutting down the gas boiler, and replacing it with heat pumps, the cost of generating heat dropped by approximately 68% from over 8,400 EUR to 2640 EUR, contributing also to lowering the carbon footprint of the plant and more sustainable operations.
Anthony Guichard, head of energy performance at Saint Jean comments: “This project enabled us to validate that the water-to-water heat pump solution was capable of meeting the site’s heating needs reliably and efficiently. This successful installation allowed us to initiate two further investments at two other manufacturing sites in 2023. These permanent installations will support our organizations’ decarbonisation action plans. The project also highlighted the importance of heat storage in this type of installations. We decided to replace the 25m3 heat storage unit with a 40m3 unit on a permanent basis. Following the rental period, we decided to leave the heat pump as a permanent installation and coupled it with a new Trane chiller to achieve an even more attractive COP for heat production while permanently upgrading also the available cooling capacity.”
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