Customised, gasless steam production
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Customised, gasless steam production

  • 09 April 2018
  • Door: Hans Reichart

The use of fossil fuels needs to be decreased. The supply of gas is finite and exacerbates climate issues. Businesses must look to alternative energy sources, which includes their need for a steam supply. Scharff Techniek anticipated that and made innovations to its knowledge and portfolio.

 “Electric sources are becoming the sustainable standard and that applies to our market as well.” That is what Bernard Scharff, director of Scharff Techniek believes. His business supplies customised steam installations and processes according to demand, from small to very large. He is primarily active in the food industry. Scharff installations are present at Marel and Van Rooi. And several manufacturers of soups and sauces. 

Minister Wiebes sent the 200 biggest consumers of gas in the Netherlands a letter in which he asked them to switch to energy sources other than natural gas from Groningen, but the government did not set a deadline for the move away from all natural gases for the business community. Gas continues to play a role: Bernard predicts two different potential routes. “I don’t expect that government regulations will determine the route towards gas-free energy. The government is encouraging the move towards green energy, but the deciding factor for the transition will be market preferences. Large retail businesses—supermarkets—will choose suppliers with a small ecological footprint, meaning manufacturers that use green energy sources.”

Buyer requirements

Bernard states that supermarket and food service buyers are setting higher requirements for socially responsible behaviour from manufacturers and growers. “It is about more than just the price. The work environments matter just as much as animal welfare and the contribution that these businesses make to limiting their carbon footprint. A green energy seal of approval gives you an advantage. Those who use electric energy can opt for sustainable sources.” Anticipating this development, Scharff selected a new line of electrically powered steam installations and included them in his range of products. “With the steam installations from the Danish company AB&Co, we offer a broad package, which provides us with an electrical solution for large-capacity demand, up to 3000 kW.” According to Scharff, there are a few obstacles that need to be addressed: “Utility companies must improve the infrastructure, meaning the transport of electrical energy, in order to meet the sharply growing demand for green sources from businesses and consumers.” 

Cutting back

It is not only for the substantial demand for steam that Scharff has brought in an electrical solution: even businesses that use little steam can come to this specialist for the right (electrical) boiler. One of these businesses is the food and feed laboratory at Nutricontrol in Veghel. Sales manager Wim Peter van Panhuis is proud of the lab: “25 years ago, Nutricontrol was founded when the business laboratory of Cehave struck out on its own. We have always been a member of the group of Agriform businesses that sprung from Cehave: Agrifirm is one of our clients. In the past few years, we have grown significantly. That is partly due to our success in the dairy industry, a sector that we have deliberately concentrated our efforts on.” Nutricontrol is an innovative business that takes its global social responsibility seriously. “We work as efficiently as possible with energy and materials. We were already doing that 25 years ago, when we opted for an organic rooftop with plants to provide things such as better insulation. However, in our processes, we also are consistently in search of opportunities to cut back, e.g. on glass. And on energy too, of course.”

Better yield

An important improvement, which has been around for a while, was found in steam production. The capacity of the existing installation was 20x greater than necessary. “We use steam to heat things such as soil. The required temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees, sometimes even up to 110 degrees. We asked Scharff Techniek, who works with many of our clients, to have a look into it. Bernard came up with a solution right away: a steam installation powered by Certuss electrical energy with a customised capacity. The yield improved substantially. Just as important: we are ready for the future.”

The interest of the food industry

Scharff’s clear vision of a green future played an important role for Nutricontrol when choosing the Utrecht business. Since in, it has become apparent that the interest of the food industry in electrical steam installations is growing. Bernard: “I have been in talks with various businesses about it. They also see that the market will be setting requirements for the energy sources of its suppliers. They want to be prepared for the future as well.” 

If you would like to have a commitment-free consultation about your steam utility needs, please call 030 2410972.

Source: © Scharff Techniek