SWITZERLAND – Tetra Pak, in collaboration with Absolicon, is pioneering the use of a scalable solar thermal module for the high-temperature sterilization of dairy products.

This innovative move aims to decarbonize the process by harnessing a renewable supply of thermal power.

Acknowledging that two-thirds of energy consumption in a typical food production plant is thermal, this initiative targets a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions linked to heat generation.

The scalable solar thermal module, compatible with both new and existing UHT lines, is set to be integrated into Tetra Pak’s UHT processing line, becoming the first solution to offer scalable solar thermal supply for high-temperature sterilization.

Anticipated benefits include a potential 40% reduction in fossil fuel usage compared to equipment reliant on fossil fuel-powered boilers.

Tetra Pak aims to install the first module this year and subsequently extend the technology to a global market, aligning with its goal to achieve net-zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050.

The collaboration with Absolicon marks a positive step in Tetra Pak’s commitment to supporting customers in reducing energy demands through renewable solutions, reinforcing its position as an environmental pioneer in the food and beverage industry.

Last month, Tetra Pak launched an integrated approach to drive the transition to more secure, sustainable, and resilient food systems, harnessing the company’s leading role in the food processing and packaging industry to effect urgent change.

This builds further on the company’s lead in the Global Dairy Processing Task Force, which, as part of the ‘Pathways to Dairy Net Zero’ climate initiative, aims to explore the innovative systems and technologies needed to further drive down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in dairy processing.

Charles Brand, Executive Vice President for Processing Solutions & Equipment, Tetra Pak, comments, “Transforming food systems is crucial for a viable future. Today, these systems are inefficient and unsustainable, responsible for over one-third of GHG emissions, while one-third of food produced is lost or wasted.

“Food systems are also failing people, with 9% of the world’s population going hungry and 30% experiencing malnutrition.

“In addition, food value chains are driving deforestation and biodiversity loss, and are estimated to be the second most critical avenue to addressing climate change, behind energy. We cannot phase out food, but we can transform these systems to ensure they are more secure, resilient, and sustainable.”

Tetra Pak has identified four key pathways to accelerate food systems transformation. The company has also established roadmaps and measurable targets for each of these pathways, aligning with the critical transitions for food and land transformation proposed by the Food and Land Use Coalition.

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