A Cool Approach To Sustainability

by | Sep 14, 2023

Sovereign invests in energy smart refrigeration.

To optimise the energy efficiency and sustainability of their cooling and heating systems, Sovereign has opted for servitisation at two of their production facilities. By contracting Energy Partners’ Cooling as a Service (CaaS) solution to take care of the refrigeration requirements, each company can focus on their primary business objectives, with a clear path to growth.

For Sovereign, the consistent and reliable delivery of high-quality chicken products that are produced sustainably has proven to be their recipe for success. Sovereign regularly invests in advanced manufacturing technology to maintain and improve the standards of excellence their customers have come to expect.

Sovereign leads the industry in sustainable practices and remains committed to reducing their environmental impact. This was a key deciding factor for outsourcing the refrigeration requirements at their production facilities in Kariega and Hartbeespoort to Energy Partners. Sovereign’s strategy is to partner with the best service providers that offer reliable, innovative and sustainable solutions for growth.

The CaaS solution provided by Energy Partners ensures dedicated focus from a specialised company to ensure uptime and optimal output parameters with guaranteed efficiency of the plants over their lifetimes. This allows Sovereign’s engineering and maintenance teams to focus on its core business and the upfront capital savings on the cooling plants can be utilised on essential production requirements.

A vital factor for sustainability in refrigeration systems is having a high coefficient of performance (COP). The COP is a ratio that represents the amount of cooling or heating provided by a system per unit of energy consumed. The higher the COP, the higher the energy efficiency of the system and therefore the more sustainable it is.

The highest level of sustainability has been accomplished for the plants through efficient design and the expert installation of advanced equipment. Full telemetry systems have also been installed to ensure all parameters are run at optimum COP. These levels will be sustained through a comprehensive preventative maintenance program and continuous improvement strategy for the operation of the refrigeration plants as well as the production process.

One of the plants’ innovative features is the way they use the waste heat they generate to save on energy costs. The plants’ heat recovery systems were also designed by Energy Partners and produce hot water for the factory as a by-product of the refrigeration system. This significantly reduces the amount of fuel needed to produce heat for the factories and results in substantial energy and cost savings.

Pieter van der Smit, Engineering Manager at Sovereign, says, “This is now arguably the most advanced further processing facility in South Africa with equipment and facilities on par with European standards.” The new Hartbeespoort refrigeration plant is currently under construction and will replace the two existing ones. It will improve the existing system efficiency by approximately 20% allowing for the expansion of production volumes in both cooling capacity and placement on the site. Sovereign also employed an acoustic engineer to ensure that the facility complies with noise pollution regulations.

Industrial refrigeration can have a significant environmental impact. By improving the energy efficiency of their cooling and heating systems as they grow production capacity, Sovereign is promoting energy conservation, resource efficiency, cost reduction, and a reduced environmental impact. Sovereign is committed to moving towards more sustainable cooling practices to mitigate the environmental challenges associated with refrigeration.