Boortmalt, the world’s largest malting company, ordered an engineering study to implement the Qpinch energy efficiency technology in its largest malting facility in the port of Antwerp – also the largest malting plant in the world – with the intention of a global rollout thereafter.
Qpinch’s revolutionary and patented heat recovery technology converts process waste heat back into valuable heat of higher temperatures for reuse in the same process. Factories can thus achieve the same output with fewer energy costs and lower emissions.
The novel solution, developed with the help of Prof. Chris Stevens, head of the SynBioC department at Ghent University, uses a reversible chemical reaction, unlike most other industrial heat pump technologies. This overcomes the hurdles of recovering vast amounts of residual heat that could otherwise not be exploited.
The process is inspired by the energy system found in all living cells in humans, animals, and plants: the ATP-ADP cycle. (ATP and ADP refer to adenosine triphosphate and diphosphate, respectively.) By mimicking this process on a large, industrial scale and with inorganic chemistry, Qpinch raises the temperature of waste heat by 50 to 100+ °C.
Yvan Schaepman, CEO Boortmalt Group, said: said: “Reducing our scope one and two emissions with 42% by 2030 to align with the Paris agreement 1.5°C scenario is one of our primary targets. As the biggest malting company globally, we play a major role in the whole beer and distiller supply chain. For years we have been working hard to reduce our emissions, striving to become the most efficient maltster in the world. We are committed to continuing doing so. That’s why we always keep an eye out for novel solutions such as these.”
The engineering work for the first unit has started, resulting in an integration with Boortmalt’s malting plant by early 2023.
When operational, the unit will avoid up to 7,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, the equivalent of almost 5,000 small passenger cars.
Gert Van Laer, Projects & Assets Care Manager Europe, said: “We encountered the Qpinch technology when it was still in full development back in 2017. We instantly saw the potential to make a quantum leap in energy efficiency and emissions reduction and started talking. We’re pioneering here, bringing this breakthrough to the next level together with Qpinch. If we can integrate this in many of our global assets, we realize another big leap in our sustainability efforts.”
“Technology development is not a goal on its own,” says Wouter Ducheyne, Qpinch’s CEO, CTO and co-founder. “We aim to help the industry reach net-zero emissions faster and reduce costs at the same time. With a market leader such as Boortmalt, we have the chance to further develop our technology for the whole food industry. We want to have an impact and help food & beverages to achieve their ambitious climate goals.”