Heat recovery in the roasting process of our cocoa beans

With regard to the challenge of producing more sustainably without compromising quality - heat recovery in the roasting process of our cocoa beans

When Felchlin Switzerland invests in sustainability issues, a standard solution is usually inconceivable. The ground is that even the slightest change in the manufacturing process can have a significant impact on the quality of our premium couvertures. Judicious planning, the taking into account of all eventualities, as well as the willingness to go the extra mile, both in terms of effort and investment volume, are a prerequisite for us.

The following is a prime example: With the installation of a heat recovery system on our roasting equipment, a standard solution in which the heated exhaust air is fed directly back into the roasting process did not come into question for quality reasons. Therefore, our Head of Technology Daniel Busslinger, in sync with a specialized engineering firm, developed a composite heat exchanger specially adapted to the Cacao process, which feeds the exhaust air heat back into the roasting process via a separate water circuit.

Because this was a bespoke system and designed to meet the needs and conditions of Felchlin Switzerland, it works extremely efficiently, and it has been possible to reduce gas consumption and thus also CO2 emissions by around 45%. Following the conversion of the first roasting line in 2018, the second roaster was also successfully retrofitted in December 2021.

The key figure analysis shows that we were able to keep energy consumption practically constant in 2022 compared to the previous year, despite higher production volume. The commissioning of the second heat recovery system in the roasting department has therefore had an effect. The bottom line is that the specific energy consumption per tonne sold was reduced by a good 6%.