Good practice

Energy-efficient refrigeration saves money at German meat-processing plant

Energy-efficient refrigeration saves money at German meat-processing plant
© Grispb, #142144361, 2017, source:
Food processing
High cost
Annual saving:
Payback time:
3 Year(s)
Associated cost savings: Energy:
55% / 67000€
Co2 emission reduction:
345 tonnes per year
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
One off investment:

Lessons for all plants with cooling rooms

  • A German meat-processing plant installed an interconnected refigeration system to reduce energy costs
  • Yearly cost reduction of up to € 67 000 and CO2 reduction of 345 tonnes

The Gourmet Fleischerei and Feinkost GmbH employs 80 employees at its Brandenburg site, which processes 3 600 tonnes of pork and beef each year. The preparation, cleaning, further processing and storage of the meat takes place in 24 cooling rooms (an area of 4 500 m2).

With increasing demand over the years, additional refrigeration systems were installed. Overcapacity was not an uncommon problem and a two-point control system installed some time ago added to the maintenance and operating costs.

A detailed audit of the power consumption, operating times, and nominal cooling capacity of the individual units revealed that 65 % of the total electricity consumption went to providing refrigeration. This prompted a series of measures, headlined by an overhaul of the company's whole approach to refrigeration.

Individual refrigeration units were replaced by a network controlled by frequency converters according to the needs of various preparation rooms. This 'composite' system is managed and optimised in several ways: 

  • Reliability and efficiency: compressors have guaranteed power reserves to prevent total shutdown in the event of a section failure
  • Improved operations: new controls with electronic expansion valves boost the operational characteristics of the system
  • Conversion: frequency converters for the fan capacitors in the cooling units reduce energy consumption
  • Waste: waste heat from the combined system is used for hot-water production during production

Key results

Thanks to this series of measures, costing around € 200 000, Gourmet Fleischerei and Feinkost reduced its energy consumption by around 55 %, which saves around € 67 000 annually. The more efficient refrigeration system also cuts annual CO2 emissions by 345 tonnes.

Want to know if relevant support is offered in your country?