An innocuous candidate for emission contribution, food processing poses significant risks to environmental resources through excessive dependence on refrigeration and thermal systems and other electrical appliances necessary for manufacturing and preservation of food items. However, with proper monitoring and emergent technologies as irradiation, heat pumps, heat pipes, heat and power cogeneration cycles, infrared heating, etc, energy management in the industry becomes easier.
The food processing industry relies on petroleum, gas, electricity and other sources of energy that are employed in refrigeration, automation, thermal processing, freezing, dehydration and drying. All of these processes involve high energy consumption, refrigeration in particular. Energy conservation can be achieved in all of these individual processes. Refrigeration processes could be more energy-saving with the help of efficient piping and insulation systems, prevention of refrigerant contamination, procedure monitoring, etc. Recycling of waste heat could reduce energy levels and prevent unwarranted emission.
Further, technologies like high pressure processing and food irradiation play a major role in conserving the biological properties of nutrients, while eliminating harmful microorganisms, under controlled temperature and pressure conditions. They are fast and effective and retain food quality and nutrition attributes. Similarly , infrared heating results in fast heat transfer, effective for drying foods, and deactivate bacteria.
Energy management plays an important role in the food processing industry and proper quality management becomes essential for reducing energy consumption and subsequently reducing the emission impact.
With inputs from internet and print sources