Sustainable energy use is one of the challenges taken up by The Fladgate Partnership. In this context, the group has invested continuously in energy efficiency and the generation of renewable energy in its installations. Currently, the group has installed small scale energy production using photovoltaic panels in three of its properties, Quinta dos Barões (Vila Nova de Gaia), Quinta da Nogueira (S. João da Pesqueira) and Quinta da Roêda (Pinhão).
The investment in photovoltaic panels, deployed at the main wine production and storage locations, has not only reduced the consumption of fossil fuels but has generated energy for its own electricity supply needs.
These three renewable energy projects guarantee an estimated annual production of 756,700 kWh and a reduction is CO2 emissions of about 728,000 kg/year. Since 2014, the year in which the panels were installed, the production of photovoltaic solar energy has increased by 37%, evidence of the potential that this kind of investment can have.
Monitoring of consumption:
It is essential that energy consumption is monitored so that opportunities for improvement can be identified and corrective action taken. With this in mind, meters have been installed throughout the electricity distribution network, not only to gather data regarding actual energy consumption in each building, warehouse and property, but also to ensure that the externally contracted or internally generated power is in line with the requirements of each facility.
Cleaning in Place (CIP) is an equipment that allows the optimization of the washing and disinfection of the filler and all the wine pipes used in the lines.
Until the start-up of CIP, the washing operation of the filling machine was manual, that is, it required the allocation of labor. The bottle washing operation, which precedes the filling, also entailed a huge waste of water since all the water used in the bottle washing was wasted. In addition to the increased water consumption, these operations resulted in higher energy consumption.
CIP – Washing and disinfection of lines:
The washing is done with hot water during the weekdays and the use of detergent has been eliminated. Hygienic hot cleaning with weekly cleaning is done every Friday to ensure that all hygiene issues are ensured during the longer stopping of the weekend. As a result, we went from 3 to 2 employees and used 1,800 liters of water daily in the wash compared to 6,000 liters before we had the equipment.
CIP – Recirculation of water in the rinse:
CIP has installed a line of water filtration to rinse the bottles, with water recirculation basin, allowing its reuse after sterilization.
This closed system ensures an important rationalization of resources, since the water consumption is only 300 liters per day.
After the installation of the CIP, and additionally, a heat exchanger was installed that reutilizes all the thermal calories of the water spent in the wash. This energy is used to preheat a new wash cycle.
The heat exchanger operates at 85 ° C, which allows sterilization of the water. With this exchanger, it is possible to make a sterilized wash in only 3 phases: cold water – hot water (at 85ºC) – cold water. Washing and cleaning with detergent is made with cold water and involves 5 phases: water – detergent – water – detergent – water.
The heat exchanger allows a drastic reduction of the energy used (gas) to heat the water for washing. This gas value is reduced by 75%, meaning, the energy bill is only 25% compared to the invoice value before installing the equipment.
This equipment allows several savings, both in the filling operation and in the cleaning and disinfection of the line and its pipes:
• 80% savings in the use of detergents. During the weekdays, we totally abandoned the use of detergents, days when washing only with hot water.
• Decrease of water consumption in the bottle washing operation.
• Decrease of water consumption in the operation of washing of the filler, pipes and hoses.
• Decreased energy consumption associated with washing operations.
• We have raised the level of quality and washing to the internationally accepted standard.
In 2019 CIP will be extended to the fillers of two other automatic lines.