Arla Foods Ingredients is taking a major step toward its carbon reduction goals with the construction of an electric heat pump facility at its primary processing plant in Denmark. The €32 million project is Arla’s largest single investment in net-zero initiatives to date.

Scheduled to go live in 2025, the facility at the Danmark Protein site will be able to convert 2.8MW of electricity into 8MW of heat. The shift to heat production by electricity instead of gas will cut the site’s greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 14,500 tonnes CO2 equivalent a year—a 22% reduction compared to 2023.

As such, it will contribute significantly to Arla’s overall goal to reduce CO2 emissions from production by 63% by 2030. Along with measures to reach a target of 100% renewable electricity across its European sites by the end of 2025, it is one of the biggest steps the company has taken toward net zero.

The investment is the culmination of many years’ work at Arla Foods Ingredients, which has a long history of applying electrification technology. Lessons learned from smaller heat pump investments have informed the design of the fully integrated system, which will capture energy from chilled water. The resulting heat will be fed into the plant’s 90°C heat distribution network, which supplies hot water for processes such as spray-drying to create powdered whey ingredients.

Paul van Rooij, vice president of supply chain at Arla Foods Ingredients, says, “There’s growing demand for our products around the world but it’s essential that we grow sustainably. Efficient electrification and a shift to renewables are central to Arla’s commitment to reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This innovative heat pump technology will allow us to split our energy system, so that we can supply more sustainably generated heat to lower temperature users while channelling efforts into developing better solutions for our few high-temperature needs. It’s another important milestone on our carbon reduction journey.”

The heat pump facility at Danmark Protein will provide a blueprint for similar projects at other Arla Foods Ingredients sites.