Tailored and sustainable energy for Valio plants

31st October 2022
Partnership stories Food & Beverage

Adven produces heating and cooling for eight plants operated by Valio across Finland. In terms of energy production, each facility has its individual considerations and requirements. Consequently, meeting the customer’s production standards has been a key consideration in Adven’s design, resource allocation and planning projects.

One goal has remained the same throughout: reducing the use of fossil fuels by replacing them with biofuels. Adven’s independence of underlying technologies and fuels provides great flexibility in tailoring energy solutions.

“The Valio account is very interesting, because we had to select the energy solution and type of heating separately for each plant. This allowed us to match our solutions exactly to the customer’s production requirements. Furthermore, the solutions were designed, for instance, with local or otherwise readily available fuels in mind,” says Adven’s Director of Account Management Heikki Aarrejoki.

As each of Valio’s milk processing plants produces different dairy products, their energy requirements vary greatly. The largest milk processing company in Finland operates several substantial production plants where unplanned downtimes are not an option.

“Based on milk volume alone, our facility is the largest dairy processing plant operated by Valio. Consequently, it is a critical facility for the entire Finnish dairy sector. We require an uninterrupted supply of heat for our operations. Delivery reliability and quality are the key to our success,” says Kari Lappi, Plant Manager, Valio Lapinlahti.

The cornerstones of co-operation: biofuels and best practices

“When the power plant was realised, it was built to run on biofuels without compromising productivity and profitability. At the time, we shared a common goal with Adven: to minimise fuel oil consumption. Currently, we use only as much oil as is absolutely necessary and not a drop more,” says Timo Panula, Plant Manager, Valio Seinäjoki.

From the outset, the two companies established an operating model for co-operation follow-up and development. This model involves regular meetings for reviewing best practices identified locally at the plant level, allowing them to be disseminated across Valio facilities around Finland.

“In matters involving several different plants, allowing experts to talk head to head makes it easier to propagate ideas and promote development. The way I see it, allowing Adven to take full responsibility of our energy production strengthens our operations. Additionally, they provide us with remote monitoring, which improves cost efficiency,” Panula says.

“Transparency is vital for our operations. In fact, this was one of our initial criteria, as it would allow us to rely on Adven to develop and deliver as a true partner. This is a promise they have kept and, as a plant manager, I can rely on Adven,” Lappi says.

Bio-based fuels will cut emissions by 17,000 tonnes a year

In 2019, the co-operation between Valio and Adven was widened. Adven is delivering an entirely new boiler plant to Valio’s Seinäjoki plant, bringing an additional four megawatts of power. The new bio boiler plant will reduce the plant’s use of oil and peat, which in turn will cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 15,000 tonnes a year. This is the equivalent of the annual CO2 emissions of approximately 6,000 passenger cars.

The contract with Pitäjänmäki juice plant in Helsinki was extended, and a new 2-megawatt bio-energy plant will be built for production. The emissions of the plant will decrease by more than 2,000 tonnes.

“Operational reliability is extremely important to us, and Adven has supplied heat to Seinäjoki very reliably. Important aspects affecting the selection of an energy partner are, of course, the profitability of the projects and, to an increasing degree, sustainability,” says Valio’s Energy Manager, Peter Fabritius.

“Valio’s long-term goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral footprint throughout the production chain by 2035. Transitioning towards emission-free fuels in heat production is consistent with this strategy,” he says.

Read more: