Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Foods, one of the largest food processing companies in the world, installed and commissioned eight CO2 heat pumps at its poultry food processing plant in Korat, Thailand earlier this year.
Thanarak Kosalwitr, Vice-President, Corporate Engineering, Charoen Pokphand Foods
Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods), a subsidiary of Thailand's largest conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), is one of the largest food processing, distribution and retail companies in the world.
At the heart of the company's business operation is the processing of livestock such as shrimp, chicken or pork and the production of ready-made meals. Though headquartered in Bangkok, CP Foods focuses on growing its business overseas, operating food manufacturing and processing facilities in Southeast Asia, China and India, and also exporting to Europe and most recently the United States.
As one of Southeast Asia's largest businesses, CP Foods understands its leadership role when it comes to environmentally sustainable business growth and development.
According to the company's 2017 Sustainability Report, CP Foods is aiming to reduce energy consumption by 15% and greenhouse gas emissions by 15% per production unit by 2020 (compared to the base year 2015).
Thanarak Kosalwitr, CP Foods’ vice-president of corporate engineering, is leading the charge on this initiative internally.
In late 2017 and early 2018, Kosalwitr oversaw the installation and commissioning of one of the first CO2 heat pumps in Thailand.
A total of eight EcoCute UNIMO water-sourced CO2 heat pumps, supplied by Japanese manufacturer Mayekawa, were installed at CP Foods’ poultry food processing plant in Nakhon Ratchasima (also known as Korat) province in Thailand.
The UNIMO heat pumps were installed to replace a large portion of the plant's hot water supply needs, which traditionally were provided by fuel oil boilers.
Initial projections estimate energy cost savings of 38% and a CO2 emissions reduction of 63%.
Kosalwitr notes that actual performance data is still in the process of being collected as factory staff undergo a learning curve of fully integrating the CO2 heat pump into the factory's food processing and manufacturing processes.
"We have had some challenges, and the system's operation has changed a bit as we expanded the capacity and are using the hot water in different ways," says Kosalwitr.
There is no issue with the system, Kosalwitr says, so the focus now is on training and educating staff on optimising the system's implementation and use as well as the process of data collection and analysis.
"We will have the real figures at the end of this year," he says.
One benefit, however, has already been realised. The installation of the CO2 heat pump has significantly reduced the risk to which CP Foods is exposed with respect to oil prices.
"It fluctuates," says Kosalwitr. "When the price of crude oil increases, we have a problem."
This first installation received funding assistance from the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) subsidy scheme – an agreement signed between the Thai and Japanese governments to help introduce new low-carbon technology.
This, in combination with reducing exposure to oil price fluctuations, has greatly reduced the project's payback period. Kosalwitr is now confident enough to begin planning the next CO2 heat pump installation.
"Oil prices, in fact, have recently been increasing," says Kosalwitr.
"So with the subsidies, we might achieve a four-and-a-half to five-year payback period. This has made me confident enough to go ahead with our next CO2 heat pump project, which might also be in Korat near the one we just installed."
This is an excerpt from the story 'Looking to the future with CO2 heat pumps' published this week in Issue #1 of Accelerate Asia. This issue will also be distributed in September alongside ATMOsphere Asia 2018.
The 5th Annual ATMOsphere Asia 2018 will take place on 4 September, the day before Mostra Convegno Expocomfort (MCE) Asia (5-7 September) in Central Singapore.