Eneco and PepsiCo start electrifying a snacks plant

Published: 07/10/2022

In PepsiCo’s snack plant in Broek op Langedijk, where Lay’s and Cheetos are made, Eneco will start electrifying the factory processes. A thermal storage unit is being built that gets its heat from sustainable electricity. This heat can then be used to more sustainably fry the crisps. Replacing natural gas with sustainable electricity will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 51% versus what we expect in emissions without a sustainable solution in the first phase. The aim is to realize a 98% reduction with further implementation of the technology.

Eneco and PepsiCo have very ambitious climate targets. For both companies, this project is the first industrial electrification project with high temperature storage in the Netherlands. It is also the first electrification project in the Dutch food industry of this type. For PepsiCo, this is the first large-scale sustainable electrification of a snack plant.

PepsiCo is looking globally at ways to make its processes more sustainable. To this end, as part of its ‘PepsiCo Positive’ (pep+) sustainability strategy, it has set targets for sustainability in the entire value chain, from the potato in the field to the final product – the bag of chips. One of the pillars of the pep+ strategy concerns tackling CO2 emissions. Specifically, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40% by 2030, and for the factories there is a target of no less than a 75% reduction in emissions. By 2040, PepsiCo wants to be climate neutral Worldwide.   

Together with its customers, Eneco wants to be climate neutral by 2035 and help its partners to become more sustainable by offering various solutions. Electrification with sustainable energy is an important solution to further reduce gas use in industry and thus further reduce CO2 emissions. In the snack plant, the sustainable heat can be used directly, or it can be stored for later use. The latter is done using an innovative technology from the German company, Kraftblock.

An electrical resistance heater (E-heater) heats air to 800C. This hot air is passed through a large container with iron slag and the heat is released to the iron slag. This material is suitable for retaining high temperatures for long periods of time. Iron slag is a by-product of the metal industry that is otherwise discarded. Now it is processed together with a phosphate binder into a product for energy storage. When the heat is needed again, the air flow is reversed, and the iron slag releases heat back into the air. This hot air is then used to heat thermal oil that is used to fry the crisps. Thanks to the electrification of heat production with the addition of thermal storage, PepsiCo in Broek op Langedijk can remove more than 8,500 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to a reduction of 51%. This is the first step in the goal to ultimately reduce the CO2 emissions of the plant by approximately 98%.

The construction of the thermal storage is expected to start in mid-2023 and, if everything goes according to plan it will be ready by the end of 2023. The project is supported by a DEI+ subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

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