Compressed air at Huntingwood
Compressing energy by 45%
Last year, Diageo’s Huntingwood bottling plant in Australia accounted for nearly half of our greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific region. Bottling requires compressed air, and compressed air requires energy-hungry air compressors, so the opportunities for improvements lay in both the demand side and the supply side. Could we use less compressed air, and could we compress that air more efficiently?
We developed a project to look into both sides of the issue, and the solution was found in a new kind of variable-power compressor that can adjust minutely to the plant’s demands, thus avoiding wasting power. The new compressor is also oil-free, which is clearly a benefit.
Other ideas were also implemented. For example, by expanding the size of the refrigerated air dryers, our technicians found that they were able to increase efficiency due to the higher surface area that allowed for greater heat exchange.
In total the project reduced the air compression energy requirements by 45%, and generated an ‘energy saving credit’, which was sold to a local power station to help offset its carbon emissions. And it’s still ongoing. A plan to use the excess heat generated from the compressor to warm water is just one of the ways that the Huntingwood plant can become yet more efficient, greener, and more profitable.