Whey Processing: Saputo, St-Hyacinthe, QC

The Saputo plant located in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, produces mainly powder and liquid protein concentrate as well as powder lactose from whey, a by-product of the cheese making process. The plant operates a multitude of processes and equipment, such as membranes, evaporators, dryers and crystallizers. Given all its processes and equipment, as well as its refrigeration system and numerous heat exchangers, the plant can be considered as being medium-sized, yet fairly complex.

The process integration study conducted by CanmetENERGY not only validated certain improvements already identified by the plant staff, but identified and quantified new ones as well. Process integration goes well beyond traditional energy audits by taking a systematic look at all the ways in which energy is used throughout a facility and how its various systems interact with one another.

Energy Savings and Greenhouse Gas Reductions

The process integration study at the Saputo plant in St-Hyacinthe was the first one ever to be carried out at a Canadian whey processing plant. It was conducted in 2004, and allowed identifying 13 opportunities for energy-saving measures, resulting in:

  • Oil consumption savings of $440,000/year, equal to nearly 20% of the plant’s thermal energy use
  • Greenhouse gas emission reductions of 3,800 tonnes/year

At the time, this study was the most comprehensive energy analysis to have ever been conducted at the plant. All of the plant’s sectors and operations were analyzed from a thermal energy point of view, which provided Saputo with an overall view and thorough understanding of energy consumption levels at its plant, thus allowing for better energy efficiency investment planning.

To learn more about process integration and Pinch analysis, see the:

CanmetENERGY experts also conducted process integration studies in other Canadian food and drink plants. For more information, see the list of success stories for that industrial sector.