Potato processors earn Energy Star ratings

Treehugger.com notes that the EPA has made a push towards energy efficiency in the food processing industry, and has recently given three food processing companies an Energy Star rating. The companies: J.R. Simplot Company’s Aberdeen, J.R. Simplot Company’s Othelllo, and ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Inc. operate potato processing plants.

These plants combined saved more than $10 million and reduced carbon emissions equivalent to the electricity use of 5,000 homes. The Energy Star Guidelines outline areas where the most significant efficiency savings can be acquired. When it comes to these plants, processing efficiency is critical. The freezing process is one of the most energy intensive operations in their manufacturing. After freezing, the next largest energy consumer is typically the frying process, which consumes a significant amount of fuel to heat the frying oil. Peeling, precooking, cooking, and drum drying are estimated to be very energy intensive processes as well, according to an EPA study. Drum drying is a process used in dehydrated mashed potatoes. These plants made improvements in three categories: processing, facility, and overall energy management.

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