Thermal Processing Got Milk? Cutting the Energy Bill of Dairy Production

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Energy-aware dairy plant cuts costs – Schneider Electric has designed innovative solutions for the dairy industry, which reduces energy consumption by improved controls through its tested validated documented control blocks.

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With the advent of globalization and industrialization, the number of industries being set up have multiplied manifold globally. In India this number is overwhelming. The electrical energy and thermal energy consumed is very closely associated with this phenomenon. Every industry has to ensure optimum utilization of its resources along with smart energy management in order to cut costs and ensure greater productivity.

Currently India ranks first in milk production, accounting for more than 18.5 per cent of the world production. As per capita milk consumption in the country is rising, the need to produce more amount of milk is gaining priority. As the milk processing industries extend their production horizons, the energy consumption in these and the upcoming industries also tend to rise.


In accordance with the alternative and innovative means adopted for the milk processing plants, one also needs to consider various energy conservation techniques in the existing plants in operation through improvements in energy utilization with the latest available resources and technology.

The Process

Dairy manufacturing processes vary greatly from one product to the next but the initial steps of raw milk processing such as separation, standardization, pasteurization and homogenization for liquid milk as well as supporting facilities such as refrigeration, steam generation and Clean In Place (CIP) system and other applications such as evaporation and spray drying for skim milk powder remain the same.

The milk industry’s competitive nature, energy incentive operations, environmental targets and customer demand have resulted in a proactive approach to energy efficiency and cost reduction. The specific energy consumption per m3 of milk has been steadily reducing as different energy saving measures are continuously being implemented.

Steam, Water, Fuel and Energy

The utilities used for the dairy sector are refrigerant, steam, water, hot water, electricity and fuel. The energy saving opportunities is mainly in the area of pasteurization, homogenization, CIP, evaporator and spray dryer where one or two utilities are used. At the pasteurization section, the milk is heated and cooled within a few seconds; hence, there are intense heating and cooling demands.

Therefore, this process is one of the largest emission sources within the industry, even though much of the heat is regenerated and reused in the pasteurizer.