Olam Food Ingredients is a major food and agri-business company. The cooling system at its cocoa plant in the Netherlands is more than 25 years old and nearing the end of its useful life. Olam asked Royal HaskoningDHV’s Process Engineering team to replace it with a more energy-efficient solution.

Big picture overview enables consolidation and optimisation

The project has three distinct parts. The ammonia compressors at the heart of the cooling process need to be replaced. The water system which cools the ammonia is being upgraded to increase cooling, and the glycol piping system which transmits indirect cooling around the factory is being renewed.

“Our client wanted more cooling, more capacity and more efficiency,” explained John Broekman, Senior Process Engineer at Royal HaskoningDHV. “By assessing the overall system, we have consolidated and centralised cooling. The pipework for the glycol coolant is being optimised with an entirely new routing system.” 

One of the challenges for the team was the lack of readily available data on cooling capacities. Using process data and information from internal systems, the team identified the necessary parameters to create the new system. To create a smarter and more energy efficient process, the temperature of the glycol in the factory has been increased as an initial quick win. The more efficient compressor will reduce energy consumption further, assisted by increased throughput of water to cool the ammonia.

Careful planning and back-up systems enable production to continue

Careful preparation will ensure minimal disruption to production. The existing compressor will continue to operate while the new compressor is installed, and an external compressor is being brought on site as a further precaution. The outcome is a factory that has had a minimal shutdown time of only several hours during the months the project lasted, with a delivery date in line with the original schedule.