The food industry, both food manufacturing and retailing has a need for heating and electrical power as well as refrigeration. Invariably, plant is installed, which consists of heating systems employing low pressure hot water, high pressure hot water or steam, vapour compression refrigeration systems and an electrical power supply derived from the National Grid. The overall utilisation efficiency of these processes is low, because of the relatively low electricity generation efficiency in power stations and distribution losses in the grid. A way of increasing the energy utilisation efficiency of food manufacturing and retail facilities is through tri-generation. This paper considers tri-generation technology and the feasibility of its application to the food retail industry and examines the economics and environmental impacts of the technology compared to conventional systems. The results indicate that the economic viability of these systems is dependent on the relative cost of natural gas and grid electricity. The system investigated can provide payback periods of less than 4.0 years when the relative cost of gas to electricity is below 0.3.
- Energy conservation
- Food retail industry