Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for the Dairy Processing Industry

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The U.S. dairy processing industry—defined in this Energy Guide as facilities engaged in the conversion of raw milk to consumable dairy products—consumes around $1.5 billion worth of purchased fuels and electricity per year. Energy efficiency improvement is an important way to reduce these costs and to increase predictable earnings, especially in times of high energy price volatility. There are a variety of opportunities available at individual plants in the U.S. dairy processing industry to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner. This Energy Guide discusses energy efficiency practices and energy-efficient technologies that can be implemented at the component, process, facility, and organizational levels. A discussion of the trends, structure, and energy consumption characteristics of the U.S. dairy processing industry is provided along with a description of the major process technologies used within the industry. Next, a wide variety of energy efficiency measures applicable to dairy processing plants are described. Many measure descriptions include expected savings in energy and energy-related costs, based on case study data from real-world applications in dairy processing facilities and related industries worldwide. Typical measure payback periods and references to further information in the technical literature are also provided, when available. Given the importance of water in dairy processing, a summary of basic, proven measures for improving water efficiency are also provided. The information in this Energy Guide is intended to help energy and plant managers in the U.S. dairy processing industry reduce energy and water consumption in a cost-effective manner while maintaining the quality of products manufactured. Further research on the economics of all measures—as well as on their applicability to different production practices—is needed to assess their cost effectiveness at individual plants.

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