Techno-economic feasibility study of Mechanical Vapour Recompression for improving Energy Efficiency

in Meat Rendering

Chief Investigators

Purpose of project

Heating operations such as rendering/cooking, drying, sterilisation and cleaning play an important role in the meat processing industry. However, traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels are still being used to generate steam for these processes. There is a need to improve existing heat generation and distribution methods, one of which is Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) – a solution where waste steam from cookers is recompressed and reused in the process. To help industries make use of MVR technology more effectively, this project aims to develop a framework that will benefit sectors with similar requirements – including non-ferrous mineral processing, and pulp and paper production. 

Industries like non-ferrous mineral processing, pulp and paper, hospitals etc., all use steam below 250°C for their respective processes; these industries will benefit both directly and indirectly from the research via recommendations on the practical implementation of MVR systems tailored towards them specifically. Current literature does not cover all aspects of MVR so the project will conduct research that will fill in the gaps. 

Impact of project

Lack of knowledge has been a long-time barrier that is impacting trust in renewable process heat technologies. This project aims to improve the levels of trust, develop and improve current knowledge surrounding decarbonisation technology. It is expected that it will assist decision-making around the implementation of new technology, the development of a process/technology map of heating processes and allow easier integration of MVR systems. 

The outcomes of the project could potentially lead to reduced energy bills and carbon emissions from businesses. The research could also highlight the benefits of using solar photovoltaic technology to power the MVR and what the estimated energy savings will be. The development of better knowledge is expected to lead to easier adoption and stronger incentives for the meat industry to switch to MVR. 

In the longer term, this project seeks to accelerate the adoption of MVR technology and reduce the use of fossil gas which will lead to decarbonisation. By addressing the key challenges, we hope to increase the interest and uptake of sustainable technologies for process heating. 

Project partners – industry and research

RMIT (Lead), Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP), Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC), Pinches Group

Industry Reference Group members

JBS Australia, O’Connor Australia, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Page last updated 8 September 2023