Intergen’s technological excellence to support the Made in Italy taste of San Daniele Prosciutto PDO

Lomagna – May 2018  – Food manufacturers are often major consumers of electricity and heat and thus very interested in efficiency measures to reduce their costs thanks to the use of cogeneration.

An extremely interesting example is represented by the plant installed at the Principe factory in San Daniele del Friuli (UD) by Intergen, active in the energy industry for more than 70 years with a total of over 2,100 MWe installed in Italy and around the world.

Founded 60 years ago, the Principe company is part of Kipre Holding owned by the Dukcevich family in Trieste,  which through the holding company also controls another operating company, King’s, which produces prosciutto and smoked cold cuts. The Principe company is currently the largest manufacturer of San Daniele PDO of the Consortium.

As required by law, San Daniele prosciutto PDO is processed and aged up to 20 months in the San Daniele plant. The production site has a covered area of 10,000 square meters on three floors and a loft for utilities. The production of San Daniele prosciutto requires a significant consumption of energy and heat during all of the processing and aging phases. To cite just a few examples, the double salting phase must be performed in areas with a temperature between -1°C and +3°C; the acclimatisation and wash phase of the product (pre-ageing) requires hot water; the resting and aging phases are carried out in areas with a temperature between 4°/6°C and humidity rate stabilized between 70/80%, the anti-microbe treatments of the seasoning salts require hot water. The ageing phase is especially important for product quality and lasts from a minimum of 13 up to 20 months from the beginning of processing.

To reduce utility bill costs and improve its competitiveness, the company has undertaken an energy efficiency program and decided to contact Enerlif in Trieste, which performed interventions with an ESCo procedure, without capital investments from the customer.

The installation of the plant was assigned to Intergen based on an MWM TCG 2016V16C engine with 800 Kw electricity and 407 kW thermal recoverable from the engine jacket cooling circuit and 454kWt from exhaust. The electrical efficiency is 42.3%, while thermal reaches 45.5%, for a total of 87.8% one of the top ranking of the category. The cogenerator is connected in low voltage to the plant distribution network and to the hot water circuit.

All of the electricity production is consumed internally by the plant utilities necessary for the production process, as described above, which results in practically continual energy consumption, for more than 8,000 hours over a year, an ideal condition for cogeneration.

Thanks to a custom design, Intergen was able to create and build the new plant inside the factory by adapting the solution to the limited available space.  The overall ground dimensions of the cogenerator were reduced to a minimum based on a container configuration with the cover completely dedicated to positioning of the exhaust heat exchanger for the production of hot water and all the accessories and safety equipment.

Even for recording and monitoring heat recovery, INTERGEN was able to provide the customer with a custom software tool to acquire all the parameters (not just the ones from the cogeneration system) useful for optimising and best management of the heat vectors. The project’s profit has also been also improved thanks to the top performance of its entire operation. The monitoring software and remote control was enhanced by a supplementary section for recording and managing the hot water utilities produced and distributed in the plant.