Smart use of energy and water in the production of potato flakes at Aviko Rixona

Smart using of energy and water at Aviko Rixona
Smart use of energy and water at Aviko Rixona, a manufacturer of dehydrated potato products
July 16, 2023
Jeroen Zwietering, Process Engineer Energy at Aviko Rixona gave an interview about Smart use of energy and water.

What is your role at Aviko Rixona and how do you contribute to our sustainability strategy?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"How do we make our plants sustainable? That's the issue that occupies my time each day as Process Engineer Energy. This concerns the technical side of sustainability. This way we contribute to reducing water and energy consumption and thus the scope 1 and 2 emissions (CO2 emissions)."

"Scope 1 emissions concern the emissions of the installations in our plants and scope 2 emissions concern the energy purchased by us. We do this for the three Aviko Rixona plants: in the Netherlands in Venray and Warffum, and in Germany in Stavenhagen."
Has sustainability gained in importance in recent years?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"The importance of sustainability has definitely grown in recent years. In my role, my work has always been focused on sustainability. This is because the key underlying principle is efficiency: we aim to minimise the use of energy sources in the production process."

"We are becoming increasingly more efficient per tonne end-product each year. This is beneficial for our stakeholders and also makes our plants more sustainable."
Jeroen Zwietering:
"We aim to minimise the use of energy sources in the production process. We are becoming increasingly more efficient per tonne end-product each year. This is beneficial for our stakeholders and also makes our plants more sustainable."
How do you make the Aviko Rixona plants more sustainable?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"Take the use of water in our plants, for example. We aim to expand our capacity, but do not want to use more water for this purpose. This is why we are looking for innovative solutions to reduce water consumption per tonne end-product."

"It is possible to accomplish this by reusing water and making even more efficient use of it, for example when we clean our plants. Our packaging is also becoming increasingly more sustainable. Our goal is to make all packaging 100% recyclable. In addition, in 2022 we installed a heat pump in Warffum in the Netherlands."
Can you tell us more about the heat pump in Warffum?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"A heat pump has been in use at Aviko Rixona in Warffum since 2022. The potatoes in the plant are pre-cooked, which requires heat. On the other hand we require cold for the cooling process."

"The heat pump makes both processes more sustainable. We no longer require any natural gas to pre-cook the potatoes and we can reuse a large portion of the water from the cooling unit."
How did the idea to install a heat pump come about?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"To achieve the reduction targets for 2030, my colleagues and I carefully reviewed the production processes. What are the energy and mass flows? Which process requires heat or cold? What techniques are best used to meet these demands? We saw an opportunity for the plant in Warffum and found a suitable technology: the heat pump."
Do have any other examples of combining processes?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"The flakes capacity at Aviko Rixona in Venray was expanded. A new potato receiving and peeling line was built. The potatoes are peeled with a reduction in peel loss by making use of high-pressure peelers. When the pressure is released, the skin shoots off the potatoes."

"The blow-off steam that in the past was exhausted to the outside is now used for the pre-boilers in the granule production process. This reduces our potato losses and we also save on natural gas."

"We are happy to share this knowledge with the engineers in other plants, through the Aviko and Cosun energy platforms. This way we become more sustainable together."
What are your daily work challenges?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"The European Union has set some very ambitious sustainability targets, as has our parent company Cosun. We are happy about this! We are working on challenging and complex projects that generally take 2 to 3 years to completion. This involves many challenges: for example, changing legislation, preparing grant applications, and suitable infrastructure for our projects."

"We also consider it important to maintain good contacts within Aviko and Cosun and to involve all relevant colleagues in the process. We see many opportunities for increasing our sustainability in cooperation with qualified technicians."
What are your expectations for the future?

Jeroen Zwietering:
"Cooperation is the key to success in finding sustainable solutions. Sharing knowledge among engineers in the various locations therefore continues to be a success factor. Personally I would like to see us consider sustainability in a broader context and to start working in even more circular ways."
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