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One of Frontline Energy’s Clients is a pan-European food/confectionery manufacturer. The first engagement with this Client was in a confectionery plant in Italy whose energy plant required extensive heating and cooling throughout the manufacturing facility as well as its adjoining office block. The chief engineer had identified issues within the production plant, as well as vast energy spends and asked Frontline Energy to conduct an analysis and to propose a cost-effective solution.



CapExAnnual SavingsPaybackNet 10 Year Savings
Delivered Project€1,650,000€700,0002.3 Years€5,350,000


An initial in-depth energy survey was conducted, and the findings highlighted where the method of generating, distributing and using energy was inefficient and wasteful. Another concern highlighted was the cost of power throughout the country. Frontline’s report dealt with areas where Capital Expenditure would result in significant savings both in the near term and over the following ten years across the site.
As a result, the Client engaged Frontline Energy to proceed to carry out engineering and energy efficiency works. Key to successful project delivery was ensuring the resultant energy cost reductions accrued as indicated. Frontline also implemented numerous methods of control and of plant optimisation to further reduce the building energy consumption.

Aims and Goals of the Project

• Provision of an electrical, heating and cooling solution to the facility’s current energy plant.
• Ensure minimal disruption to the plant’s processing/production.
• Determine the optimal plant and engineering solutions to ensure the savings are generated and the payback periods achieved.
• Provide expertise and guidance on all available Grants and Subsidies available through the energy efficient measures.
• Under the energy initiative, to reduce the food group’s carbon footprint.

Overview of the Previous System


  1. Electricity – All electricity to the site was expensive local grid supply. Due to the competitive price, savings could be supplementing their supply with a gas-fired CHP.
  2. Steam Boiler – An old, inefficient steam boiler was used to generate hot water on site which was not sufficient for the need of high-grade steam.
  3. Boilers – 12 No. of Boilers to provide heat to 12 No. storage tanks for chocolate and oil which was used throughout the plant for food manufacturing
  4. Preheating Water system to Steam – There was no use of preheating the water supplied to the steam generator which led to inefficiencies.
  5. Chilling – The plant used electrically driven chillers for cooling. The chillers were oversized and due to being electrically driven and inefficient, very costly.

Proposed Trigeneration Project

The improvement of the overall energy consumption of the facility was undertaken in a single phase:
1. Combined Heat & Power Unit (CHP): Installation of a 1.25 MW CHP unit to provide thermal and electrical energy on site. This electrical generation provided an alternative to the high local grid price of electricity paired with a low gas price offering a good spark gap. The thermal output from the CHP unit provided high-grade heat to be used in tandem with an absorption chiller to provide cooling, and/or to provide heat to the boiler and steam feedwater circuits. The system has been designed to ensure full utilisation of heat.
2. Cooling: Installation of an absorption chiller to use thermal energy from the CHP to provide chilled water for cooling tunnels for food processing throughout the plant and the HVAC system. The proposed absorption chiller took load demand away from the older electrically driven chiller units and provided cooling much more efficiently.
3. Controls: Installation of new correctly sized pumps for the installed plant. These highly efficient pumps fitted with Variable Speed Drives are able to ramp up and down to match system demand, thereby minimising waste electrical energy.
The new design called for a three-port valve to allow the diversion of the thermal energy to either the hot water circuit or the absorption chiller cooling circuit. This allowed maximum utility of the heat depending on the load and ambient conditions of the plant.
4. Gas Supply: Installation of new pipework and logistics of supply increase and new gas meter due to the installation of CHP.




The system was designed by Frontline to ensure the most efficient use of thermal energy throughout the entire energy centre be it cooling or heating. When the CHP is taken offline for scheduled maintenance, the existing plant will operate as a back-up and will initiate providing no disturbance to processing within the plant.

The design was also sized to take into account demand for heating to be provided to the office block next to the facility.

Project Scope

Heating Distribution
Combined Heat and Power Unit
Absorption Chiller
Control System
Pumps & Variable Speed Drives


By initiating a project with Frontline Energy, the plant was able to complete a significant project to make better use of the existing plant and install new equipment to help with effects such as a new trigeneration system within the property. Recommendations were advised and implemented on how to best use heat generated onsite and its re-application to the production line. The plant’s operating logic was programmed to give the plant engineering team complete autonomy over their new system, allowing them to fully realise the potential for savings as well as reduce future losses from greater controls.
This new system will generate savings of over €5.3 million over 10 years, allow much more stringent proactive and reactive maintenance to the plant and give the plant engineering team complete autonomy of the energy plant. This will have the effect of money saved, less time wasted and better efficiency of their processing lines, promoting a green ethos.
The next phase of energy efficiency measures is due to begin across the site to improve the current BMS and energy monitoring.
Frontline has a continual relationship with this food group and is now commencing further projects in Ireland, the UK and again in Italy.

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