Unilever is seeking radically more energy efficient replacements for spray drying towers used to produce powdered products such as laundry and tea powder used in ice tea.
Unilever has an ambition to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030 and a vital part of achieving this goal is to reduce the overall energy consumption. Currently, spray dry towers are used to produce dry powders from slurries by passing hot air over small droplets created through spraying the slurry through a nozzle. This requires a large amount of hot air and is a major consumer of energy at sites where powders are produced. We would like to replace these with new technologies without compromising on the quality that consumers of our products expect.
In November 2015 Unilever announced a new target to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030. This means that we will eliminate fossil fuels from our energy mix and directly support the generation of more renewable energy that we can consume.
Unilever own over 260 factories in 68 countries across the world, producing a wide range of products from laundry powder to ice cream and soups. We are seeking energy efficient solutions to most of our processes, and this brief focuses on spray dry towers as we have identified that these are major consumers of energy in our tea and laundry sites.
Current operating conditions:
Example tower 1: Inlet temperature 215 - 230 °C, outlet temperature 100 - 115 °C, Pressure 40-70 bar.
Example tower 2: Inlet temperature 230 - 240 °C, outlet temperature 100 - 115 °C, Pressure 30-50 bar.
Example tower 1: D 10.5 feet, H 60 feet
Example tower 2: D 10.5 feet, H 40 feet
Any cost-effective technology that meets the requirement will be considered. We will also consider improvements in any of the core components of our existing spray dry towers that could make a significant reduction in their energy use. This includes heat recovery, improved nozzle design and others.
Unilever will consider all proposals and will consider those that meet the brief.
For all responses please indicate your preferred collaboration approach (eg joint development, research) and capabilities (eg research, concepts, prototype, small scale manufacture, large scale manufacture).