Case study: Rhodes Food Groot Drakenstein (ESO)

The Rhodes Food Group is one of the oldest food producing companies in South Africa. The Group has eight production facilities and two agricultural farms. The ready-made meals and dairy (Ayrshire) facilities at Groot Drakenstein in the Western Cape participated in the IEE Project for energy systems optimisation interventions. The plant produces a diverse range of chilled and frozen fresh ready-made meals; and milk, cream, cheese, fresh pasta and sauces are produced here for leading South African retailer, Woolworths.

The company is a large user of electrical and steam energy. With the costs of fuel increasing significantly over the past 10 years, a concerted effort was necessary to reduce consumption and costs. The steam system on the plant had two generation locations with an 8 tonne/hr boiler and a 4 tonne/hr boiler, respectively.

During the fruit processing season both boilers would be operational.  Out of season only the bigger boiler would be in operation with an average load of 2 tonne/hr. The fruit cannery operation was moved to the Tulbagh facility in 2013 resulting in a significant drop in steam requirement for half the year. Thus, the plant’s steam distribution infrastructure was significantly over capacity.

The site engineer attended the advanced steam training course and has utilised his learnings as well as the findings during the candidate plant assessment to implement efficiency measures on the boiler system.  

During 2014/15, two projects were undertaken, resulting in a total energy saving of 928 000 kWh, valued at R135 750. With a total investment of R270 000, the estimated average payback period is two years. A reduction of 928 tonnes CO2 was achieved.

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