Unicer celebrates EUR 1 million savings on energy costs

Unicer Bebidas, Portugal’s largest drinks company saved more than EUR 1 million on the annual energy costs at its Porto plant, thanks to Scanenergi’s EnSave® energy management programme.

The savings at Porto, the company’s largest plant, equate to an annual CO2 reduction of 3,400 tonnes, with electricity consumption slashed by 20.5% and fuel consumption slashed by 20.3%. During a three-year period, beer production increased by 20%, but the total use of utilities actually decreased by 5%, achieving project payback in just two years.

“The entire brewery is now focusing on energy savings. Using Scanenergi’s software, we prepare utility data reports every week and follow up on them. This is not just a project, it has become an integral part of our daily work,” said Vasco Carvalho, Energy and maintenance manager at the plant.

Positive cashflow

The partnership between Unicer and Scanenergi was formalised through an Energy Performance Contract, which ensured a positive cash flow for Unicer from day one and throughout the programme. Scanenergi financed the project and was repaid with 90% of the savings during the three-year contract period. After three years, Unicer retained all the savings.

Pedro Moreira da Silva, Production Director was thrilled with the reduction in costs, saying it made the company considerably more competitive.

“When we cut our energy consumption, we also cut our costs and that makes us more competitive in a market with constant price wars and an ongoing struggle for market share,” Pedro Moreira da Silva said.

Continuing partnership

The results are expected to continue:

“People are now very focused on energy savings. We have changed our mindset and we all look at energy in a new way, so we will go on with the savings, I’m sure,” said Pedro Moreira da Silva.

Unicer is delighted with the reductions that have been achieved and the increased energy efficiency at the plant, along with a second EnSave® programme at a sister plant in Santarem which achieved similar results. In terms of climate impact, the two plants have reduced CO2 emissions by around 7,500 tonnes annually, which corresponds to the electricity and heat consumption of 1,250 households.

“The project has proven how small improvements can make a big difference, even where savings were not anticipated. Through thorough investigation of processes and behaviour you often find a higher savings potential than you expect,” said José Aleixo, Bottling plant manager.

Energy savings a priority for Unicer

With almost a century of experience, Unicer Bebidas produces around 700 million litres annually, of which 400 million litres is beer. Environmental concerns and cost reduction were key elements in the company’s decision to focus on energy consumption as a source of potential savings. Although Unicer was already focussing on energy costs, it was notmonitoring daily consumption or considering the impact of people behaviour.

“Ideally we would have the money, time, and resources to optimise our energy consumption. But we don’t have that or the focus to do it ourselves, so we turned to Scanenergi,” said Pedro Moreira da Silva, Production director at the Porto plant.

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