Published June 29, 2022

Delivering On-Site Energy Efficiencies for One of Europe’s Leading Agribusiness Companies


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The already heightened focus on climate change and sustainability has been amplified by recent energy market volatility. Rising energy costs have left businesses vulnerable and exposed to market conditions outside of their control. Large businesses are feeling the impact and are looking for solutions that will deliver both cost and environmental benefits.

ESB Energy Business Solutions is working with large energy users in Ireland and the UK to implement innovative energy solutions that will drive energy efficiencies, guarantee significant cost savings, and help in reducing carbon footprint. ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s leading privately owned agribusiness companies and the largest beef processor in Ireland and the UK, is one of these companies.

As the first food company to be awarded a quadruple triple certification from the Carbon Trust – ABP Food Group is focused on environmental best practice. So, when ABP needed a partner to develop renewable generation capabilities and improve energy efficiency across its sites, ESB Energy was the obvious partner.

The Challenge

Like all food and drink manufacturers, meat processing relies on the availability of constant refrigeration and a reliable supply of hot water – both of which require significant energy. ABP wanted a way to reduce energy usage and cut carbon emissions at two of its Irish plants, to support its journey to carbon zero.

ESB Energy is working in partnership with ABP across their portfolio of sites in Ireland and the UK to develop energy efficiency, renewable generation and heat recovery solutions, with a particular focus on the electrification of heat.

The Solutions

ESB Energy designed a decarbonisation strategy focused on the electrification of heat, energy storage, heat recovery and smart energy management systems.

A glance at the Cahir Project

ABP’s plant in Cahir, Co Tipperary had good availability of waste heat from the refrigeration systems which are used to maintain the cold stores and freezers. The plant also has a requirement for hot water which is used as part of the wash down processes. This hot water demand is intermittent and high when it is required while the availability of waste heat from the refrigeration systems is constant.

ESB Energy worked with ABP to establish if a solution could be found to make use of the waste heat.  ESB Energy’s team of energy experts proposed a tailored solution that would store the waste heat from the refrigeration systems and then deploy this heat to generate hot water when required. An 80,000-litre thermal storage vessel was identified as the optimal size for the needs of the plant. This was combined with a series of heat exchangers, pumps and control systems all designed to meet the specific requirements of the facility. The system developed allowed for the waste heat to be continuously harvested and for it to then be used to supplement the hot water generation when needed for the hot water wash down.

The heat recovery system delivers over 14% saving on the quantity of gas used for water heating at the Cahir plant. This reduction in gas consumption contributes to lower overall energy costs and a reduction in Scope 1 carbon emissions at the plant helping ABP work toward its sustainability targets.

A glance at the Clones Project

With a boiler run on fossil fuels and a refrigeration system generating substantial waste heat, ABP’s Clones plant in Co Monaghan is set to receive a total energy make-over. Ground source heat pumps will provide most of the hot water, while heat capture and thermal storage technologies will recycle waste heat from the refrigeration process. An energy and carbon monitoring system will also facilitate ongoing equipment optimisation and cost savings.

In addition to ESB Energy’s unparalleled energy expertise, ABP has also availed of ESB Energy’s £75 million decarbonisation fund. This funding enables large energy users like ABP to adopt the latest energy efficiency technology with no up-front investment. A full turnkey package is provided by ESB Energy from concept right through to detailed design, commissioning and operation. Costs are offset by energy savings, helping ABP realise its sustainability strategy of doing more with less.

The Results

Sustainability is embedded within ABP’s culture, and the company’s partnership with ESB Energy provides the expertise and financing support to help them achieve their ambitious goals for carbon reduction.

The results of these projects include a projected 66% reduction in energy usage and a projected 80% reduction in annual carbon emissions at the two plants, equivalent to 1,700 tonnes. The electrification of heat also significantly reduces fossil fuel reliance and contributes to ongoing energy cost savings.

Dramatically Reduce Your Energy Costs with no upfront investment

ESB Energy Business Solutions works in partnership with large energy users to deliver on-site energy efficiencies that dramatically reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

The company has already delivered projects for more than 300 large businesses across the UK and Ireland. Their customers include Medite Smartply, the Dublin Airport Authority, Ardagh Group and ABP Food Group amongst many others. They have a launched a £75m fund to help large energy users decarbonise while making energy cost savings.

Find out more about ESB Energy’s work with ABP Food Group in the video below, or visit


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