Sometimes you can get a big wad of energy savings just by using the same old technology…but different. Take dehumidifiers, for example. A Cadbury chewing gum factory simply switched dehumidifiers, and before you could say “Why does a chewing gum factory need a dehumidifier?” it achieved a whopping sixty percent reduction in energy use, and chopped its overall operating expenses neatly in half.
Why Does a Chewing Gum Factory Need a Dehumidifier?
The manufacturing of chewing gum is an intricate process of grinding, hot-air drying, cooking, filtering, kneading, cooling, more kneading, cutting, and curing, and temperature and humidity control are key factors at every step. The Cadbury plant in question is located in Thailand. To maintain the proper humidity it was relying on a desiccant wheel, which does a great job of extracting excess moisture from the air but also requires excess energy to throw off the moisture it absorbs. This contributes to excess heat, which then requires air conditioning as a counterbalance.
A New Energy Efficient Dehumidifier
The new dehumidifying system is from a company called Advantix Systems. It’s based on a non-toxic brine rather than the solids used in conventional desiccant wheels, which basically enables it to take a “short cut” between dehumidifying and air conditioning. According to an article in Environmental Leader, inspiration for the system came from the heavily salted Dead Sea – little wonder, since the company was founded in Israel (and it has offices in Miami, so back-pats for the U.S., too).
The Kraft Sustainability Connection
Chocolate lovers may recall that Kraft Foods bought Cadbury after a bitter takeover battle just a couple of years ago, but the silver lining is that Kraft emerged as an early leader in energy conservation, including the use of energy efficiency and carbon management software. The company also launched a chocolate sourced from sustainably farmed cocoa. Okay, so apparently they still make CheezWhiz but after all we are still in a transitional phase, sustainably speaking. Or, as Joe E. Brown would say, “Well, nobody’s perfect!”
Image: Gumballs by Mykl Roventine on flickr.com.
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